Off-duty officer hit by gunfire while shielding son
PHILADELPHIA — An off-duty Philadelphia police officer was struck by gunfire while shielding his young son when they were caught in the crossfire of a gun battle between teenagers, authorities said.
Officer Angelo Romero was on a street in a public housing area with his 2-year-old son at about 4:45 p.m. Friday when he saw a group of teens. Another teen came around the corner and pulled a gun, Police Commissioner Richard Ross said.
Ross said the bullets then began to fly, and the unarmed officer was struck in the thumb and fragments hit both legs and his buttocks. His son was uninjured.
“He immediately covered his son, as any father would do,” Ross said. “He was just so, so lucky.”
Police said 10 to 12 shots were fired by the suspects, who were described as about 15 to 18 years old.
Ross said the officer was able to get the toddler to safety at a nearby relative’s house. He went to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital for treatment.
Officers were hoping several surveillance cameras in the area caught the shooting on video, and Ross said the officer believes he can identify at least one of the suspects.
“We’ve got these young guys out here with these guns, just wanting violence. It makes no sense,” Ross said.
Three blocks away, a 38-year-old man died after he was shot eight times inside a car later the same day. Police are investigating whether there is any link between the two shootings.