An off-duty detective picking up takeout food was hailed a hero after he ended up stopping a pizza shop robbery in a close-quarters shootout that left one of the suspects dead, Philadelphia Police said.
The detective had just gotten his food when two men – one armed with what turned out to be a revolver with blanks in it and both covering their faces – entered Rising Sun Pizza near Tyson Avenue in the city's Lawndale neighborhood just before 11:30 p.m. Thursday. The entire incident captured on surveillance video.
“He put the gun to the head of the off-duty detective and took $20 cash from the detective’s hand,” said Chief Inspector Scott Small. “He ordered the detective to lay on the floor while pointing a gun at his head.”
With the detective, who works in the Northwest Division, on the floor, the robbers then focused their attention on the 22-year-old owner and another employee behind the counter. As the two announced they were robbing the shop and pointed the gun at the workers, the detective identified himself and pulled his weapon, said Small.
“There was a gun battle,” said Small.
One of the suspects fired at least two shots from point-blank range -- surveillance video showed the flashes. But, since the suspect was shooting blanks, no one was it.
The detective returned fire, said Small. The two suspects then fled – leaving the gun with four loaded blanks behind, said investigators.
The armed suspect collapsed in the parking lot – no identification on his body – while the other escaped. The 33-year-old man died from multiple gunshot wounds to his torso.
The detective, pizza shop owner and an employee were unharmed.
"He took action that was very brave, very heroic and he's very, very fortunate that he is alive -- very fortunate that he was not injured."
The search continued for the second suspect – a man in his 20s wearing a dark-hoodie and blue jeans – early Friday.
“It was unknown whether or not he was struck by gunfire,” said Small.
Anyone with knowledge of his whereabouts is asked to contact 911.
The police department put the detective involved on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.