Prosecutor says terror links not found in immigrant shooting
HARRISBURG — An Egyptian immigrant who wounded a Pennsylvania state trooper and fired at other police officers before being killed has not been connected with any organized terror group or terrorist activity, a prosecutor said Thursday.
Friends and relatives of Ahmed Aminamin El-Mofty have described him as depressed over a lack of family contact and money problems, Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico said.
“At this point in time there is no known nexus to any organized terrorist group or terrorist activity,” Marsico said.
El-Mofty is believed to have acted alone when he began firing from his vehicle Dec. 22 in downtown Harrisburg, a few blocks from the State Capitol building. He then fired several shots at a marked Capitol Police vehicle. No one was injured in the initial shootings, which generated a large police response.
El-Mofty reappeared about a half-hour later near a train station, several blocks away from where he had begun firing.
Trooper hit: That’s when El-Mofty encountered and shot the trooper, who suffered a relatively minor head wound from a bullet fragment, Marisco said. Two bullet holes were found in the headrest and one in a sun visor of the trooper’s marked cruiser.
Marsico said investigators would like to speak with a passer-by who helped the wounded trooper.
State police have not identified the trooper and said Thursday she was on scheduled leave and was doing fine.
El-Mofty shot at several other officers in the city’s Allison Hill neighborhood before he was shot and killed, Marsico said.
Shooter’s background: El-Mofty, a 51-year-old resident of Steelton, was divorced, and his acquaintances said he had been depressed over lack of contact with his family, his employment situation and financial issues. El-Mofty had two children and no criminal record.
Marsico said his preliminary conclusion is that police “acted commendably, honorably and heroically” and were justified in shooting El-Mofty. He said police had “no indication” what El-Mofty’s motivation was.
El-Mofty was found with a pair of 9 mm handguns that he had bought recently from Harrisburg area gun stores, Marsico said.
The prosecutor described El-Mofty as possessing “a boatload of ammunition” — hundreds of rounds. El-Mofty also had two propane cylinders, one in a fanny pack around his waist and one recovered from the ground near his car.
El-Mofty was granted an immigrant visa in 2006, moved to the United States from Cairo that year and was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 2011, prosecutors said.
Pennlive.com said divorce records show he was married in Egypt in 1999. His wife said in seeking a divorce in 2013 that their marriage was irretrievably broken and they had lived apart for at least two years.
El-Mofty went back to Egypt before returning to the United States in October. Marsico said investigators are looking into El-Mofty’s background in Egypt.