Miles Pfeffer is the 18-year-old suspect accused in the murder of Temple University Police Officer Christopher Fitzgerald in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on February 18, 2023, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.
“Officer Fitzgerald gave his life protecting the Temple community and we are forever indebted to him. He valiantly served the Temple community and the people of Philadelphia,” the Temple University Police Association tweeted.
The United State Marshals Service Philadelphia office tweeted that Pfeffer was taken into custody on the morning of February 19, 2023, in Bucks County in connection with Fitzgerald’s death.
According to Fox29 journalist Steve Keeley, Miles K. Pfeffer is charged with 24 counts, including criminal homicide. CBS News reported that, according to the Philadelphia district attorney, Pfeffer “will be charged with murder, murder of a law enforcement officer, robbery, carjacking, firearm offenses, possession of an instrument of crime, and related offenses” and will not be eligible for bail release.
Heavy has reached out to the Philadelphia district attorney’s office for more details.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Miles Pfeffer Is Accused of Shooting Officer Christopher Fitzgerald While Fitzgerald Was Trying to Apprehend a Robbery Suspect
Temple University’s President Jason Wingard wrote in a statement posted to the university’s website that he was “heartbroken to inform you that Temple University has lost a first responder and hero to senseless gun violence.”
According to Wingard, “A Temple police officer was shot this evening while trying to apprehend a robbery suspect at 1700 W. Montgomery Avenue. The officer was later pronounced dead at Temple University Hospital.”
“There are simply no words that can make sense of this tragedy. It tears at our sense of community and safety. We all mourn this unspeakable loss,” Wingard wrote. “The suspect in the shooting has fled the Temple area. Both the Philadelphia Police Department and the Temple University Police Department are still gathering information regarding the incident.”
Wingard said in a press conference that he met with the slain officer’s wife, family and fellow police officers.
District Attorney Larry Krasner tweeted, “We are shocked & heartbroken at the murder of a Temple police officer who was slain protecting others. The Philly DAO will extend all support we have to family, friends & colleagues of the officer. We are already collaborating with PPD to bring the responsible parties to justice.”
2. Miles Pfeffer’s Social Media Account Contains Photos of Cash, Dirt Bikes & a Basketball Hoop
On Instagram, Pfeffer’s page is now set to private, and his profile picture shows him holding a large fish.
Heavy reviewed the page before it was privatized. Social media photos on the page show cash, dirt bikes and a basketball hoop. One photo shows Pfeffer on a dirt bike.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, that photo shows “what appeared to be a Ruger semiautomatic pistol tucked into his waistband.”
One Instagram photo from 11 weeks before the shooting showed a man holding wads of cash and read, “work smart not hard make stupid decisions face stupid consequences.”
3. Miles Pfeffer Was Taken Into Custody at a $1.2 Million Buckingham Home, Where He Was Cuffed Using the Slain Officer’s Handcuffs, Reports Say
The U.S. Marshals Service Philadelphia wrote on Facebook, “This morning, investigators from the USMS Eastern PA Fugitive Task Force, Bucks County Central SWAT, PPD Homicide, and Buckingham Police arrested Miles Pfeffer, 18, in Bucks county. Pfeffer was wanted for murder in relation to the shooting death of a Temple Univ Police Officer.”
The service shared a series of photos showing the arrest.
The Temple University Police Association tweeted, “We can confirm that a suspect has been taken into custody for the murder of one of our police officers. We are told that the arrest was made using our fallen officers handcuffs.”
Journalist Bryanna Gallagher also shared pictures on Facebook of Pfeffer being taken into custody, writing, “Sources tell Action News, 18 year old suspect Miles Pfeffer was taken into custody early this morning at a home on Quarry Road in Buckingham.”
The Buckingham home’s worth is estimated at more than $1.2 million, according to Redfin.
4. A Local Journalist Wrote That Miles Pfeffer’s Brother Was With Him When the Shooting Happened & Their Mother Picked Miles Pfeffer Up
Journalist Steve Keeley tweeted that a source had provided the affidavit of probable cause to him, and that the entire incident was “captured on surveillance videos.”
“Officer Fitzgerald was heard over police radio saying he was in a foot pursuit. Police officers responded & located officer Fitzgerald in the 1700 block of Montgomery Avenue suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the face & upper torso. Officer Fitzgerald was immediately transported to Temple University Hospital where he was subsequently pronounced dead at 7:27pm,” he wrote.
“Video surveillance depicted Officer Fitzgerald on foot pursuit of a male dressed in all black clothing westbound on Montgomery Ave. The officer catches up to the male just east of 18th Street where the officer male get into a struggle,” wrote Keeley in the Twitter thread.
He wrote that Officer Fitzgerald was heard repeatedly yelling at the male “to get on the ground. The male is then seen firing a handgun at Officer Fitzgerald who falls to the ground. The male then stands over Officer Fitzgerald & fires several more shots into his face & head area.”
Keeley continued that the male “then reaches down & attempts to take the officer’s service weapon, but can’t seem to get the weapon out of the holster. He also searches the unresponsive officer’s pockets. The male then flees westbound & turns north on 18th Street. Additional footage on North 18th depicts the male confronting a 2nd victim. The male is heard saying ‘Give me the keys or I’ll kill you.’ The male then takes the person’s vehicle & flees on 18th Street. The vehicle was recovered at 29th Street & Ridge Ave.”
According to Keeley, “The accused killer’s brother was with him when Officer Fitzgerald tried to stop them & is one of the witnesses who saw & heard what happened, Law Enforcement sources tell FOX29. He ducked into an alley & hid, and saw the officer chase Miles Pfeffer and then he heard gunshots.”
He noted, “Additional information was later received that Miles Pfeffer was later picked up by his mother JMP at 29th Street & Ridge Avenue, & driven out to their home on Quarry Road in Buckingham.”
Pfeffer’s mother, Jill Petrushka, indicates on Facebook that she is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but she doesn’t have much visible on her page. The suspect’s father, Marc Pfeffer, also says on Facebook that he is from Philadelphia.
5. Slain Temple Police Officer Chris Fitzgerald Was Remembered as a Father & Avid Runner
WPVI journalist Beccah Hendrickson wrote on Facebook that Fitzgerald was “a dad, an avid runner, and as described by a fellow officer ‘everything you would want in a police officer.'”
She added: “Last night, he was on duty, patrolling alone when he came upon a carjacking in progress and tried to intervene. He was shot and killed. He’s the first Temple police officer ever killed in the line of duty.”
Temple University Police Association thanked people in a Twitter statement for stopping by a memorial for the fallen officer.
WFAA-TV reported that Fitzgerald was the son of a former Fort Worth, Texas, police chief.
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