Philadelphia police

Murder Charges Filed in Shooting Death of Philly SWAT Officer

Cpl. James O'Connor was gunned down while serving a homicide warrant Friday morning

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Police officials said Wednesday that SWAT team member Cpl. James O'Connor was shot twice while serving an arrest warrant and died a short time after the pre-dawn raid.

O'Connor, 46, was about to enter a home early Friday along Bridge Street near Duffield Street to arrest Hassan Elliott on a homicide warrant when he was shot. He never made it into the house.

Hassan Elliott, 21, is charged with murder, criminal homicide of a law enforcement officer and related offenses for the killing of Cpl. James O'Connor IV.

"We are all still very devastated by the tragic events that transpired last Friday morning," Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said at a press conference Wednesday. "Jimmy O'Connor is and will always be a hero in every sense of the word."

Some of O'Connor's family were on hand as police announced his arrest.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said Tuesday that 21 shots were fired from the second floor of the home and from behind a closed door.

O'Connor was hit once in the left forearm and once in his left upper back, below his shoulder blade, according to Lt. James Hendershot, commander of the Officer-Involved Shooting Unit.

Officials confirmed that they believe Elliott fired the bullets that killed O'Connor.

Philadelphia Police SWAT Cpl. James O’Connor IV
NBC10 / Philadelphia Police
Philadelphia Police SWAT Cpl. James O’Connor IV

The bullets fired at police all came from one gun, Krasner said Tuesday. Ten firearms were found in the room where Elliott was found. Krasner said the investigation is ongoing. Forensic testing is underway.

Hendershot said Wednesday that "this investigation is far from over. We're not done."

"There were a total of four individuals inside that bedroom (at the time of the warrant raid)," Hendershot said. "We are still investigating all three (other) individuals (in addition to Elliott) to determine that they had any culpability in this murder."

Three other men in the home at the time of the shooting – 18-year-old Khalif Sears; 19-year-old Bilal Mitchell; and 24-year-old Sherman Easterling – were also taken into custody.

Sears faces homicide charges from a March killing. Mitchell was charged with drug possession. Easterling was returned to jail for violating parole.

A married father of two — including a son who also serves on the force — O'Connor had been a police officer for 23 years and was with the SWAT unit for 15 years. His daughter serves in the U.S. Air Force.

Funeral services for O'Connor set to take place on Thursday and Friday are postponed indefinitely because of the coronavirus outbreak and resulting shutdown.

There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence. Further information can be found here.

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