A gunman who wounded two Philadelphia police officers and three civilians and killed a fourth civilian appears to have opened fire because he was driven by hatred for the police, officials said on Saturday.
Police did not immediately identify the gunman who they said began a shooting spree late on Friday and later was killed by responding officers.
Sergeant Sylvia Young, a 19-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department, was shot at least eight times by the gunman as she sat in her vehicle late at night, Police Commissioner Richard Ross said.
“He just walks up on her … He just fired. He didn’t say anything,” Ross told a news conference on Saturday, saying the suspect fired about 15 rounds into Young’s vehicle.
Police found a “rambling” letter allegedly written by the gunman in which he expressed hatred toward police and probation officers, Ross said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. He said there was no reason to believe at this point that the gunman had any religious beliefs that drove him to the shootings, the newspaper reported.
Philadelphia police could not be reached immediately to confirm the reports of a letter or its contents.
The gunman was “driven by hatred,” police spokesman John Stanford said on Twitter.
Nearby officers heard the initial gunshots and began pursuing the suspect on foot. During the chase, the suspect fired shots into a tavern, striking a security guard in the leg, Ross said.
He then used a woman from the bar as a shield before shooting her. He later fired into a car, seriously wounding a man and woman, he said.
One of the women was shot seven times and later died, police said. They did not say which woman.
The chase ended when the gunman exchanged gunfire with police in an alley, wounding a University of Pennsylvania police officer. The shooter was killed during the gun fight, Ross said.
“We have a lot of unanswered questions … This is a completely bizarre situation,” he said.
The two police officers and three wounded civilians were all in stable condition, police said.
Police officers in the cities of Dallas and Baton Rouge were the targets of deadly ambushes earlier this year after police killed two black men in separate incidents in a Minnesota suburb and Baton Rouge. (Reuters)