Philadelphia police

Accused Shooter in Temple University Officer's Death Facing Murder Charge

Temple University Police Officer Christopher Fitzgerald died in a Saturday night shooting near campus. Eighteen-year-old Miles Pfeffer is accused of murder in the officer's death

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What to Know

  • Authorities say an 18-year-old suspect is facing murder and other charges in the death of a Temple University police officer shot near campus in Philadelphia.
  • The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office said 18-year-old Miles Pfeffer would also face charges of murder of a law enforcement officer, robbery, carjacking and weapons crimes in the death of 31-year-old Officer Christopher Fitzgerald.
  • Temple University president Jason Wingard called the shooting ‘a gut-wrenching reminder’ of officers' bravery and sacrifices.

Editor's Note (Feb. 20, 2023, 6:55 p.m.): Information detailing the shooting and a carjacking have been made available. Click here for the most updated information.

The Bucks County teenager accused of gunning down a Temple University police officer over the weekend was arraigned on murder and a slew of other charges in Philadelphia Monday morning.

Eighteen-year-old Miles Pfeffer is accused of killing officer Christopher Fitzgerald near North 17 Street and West Montgomery Avenue in North Philadelphia Saturday night. The officer at the time was trying to apprehend a person who robbed a nearby convenience store, Temple said in a statement Saturday night.

On Sunday, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner announced that Pfeffer would be charged with murder, murder of a law enforcement officer, robbery, carjacking, possession of an instrument of crime and related offenses.

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In detailing the charges, Krasner said that law enforcement officials believe that Fitzgerald encountered Pfeffer on Saturday night "during the course of an incident investigation near the border of Temple’s campus."

Police released mugshot of Miles Pfeffer, 18.

On Sunday morning, police descended on the Buckingham Township family home of Pfeffer, where he was arrested using Fitzgerald's handcuffs.

"That's a tradition that we do any time there is a fallen officer. We felt it was important to remember officer Fitzgerald by once again placing his cuffs on the suspect," Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal, Robert Clark explained at the time of the arrest.

The Central Bucks School District confirmed to NBC10 that Pfeffer once went to its schools, but hadn't been enrolled since fall 2019.

It wasn't immediately clear if Pfeffer had retained legal representation. The Defender Association of Philadelphia, a nonprofit group that serves as the city's public defender's office, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.

Miles Pfeffer, 18, is arrested outside of his family's Bucks County home on Sunday.

Remembering a 'Forever Hero'

After Pfeffer's arrest, the Temple University Police Association shared several photos of officer Fitzgerald on social media.

"Officer Fitzgerald gave his life protecting the temple community and we are forever indebted to him," the organization tweeted. "He valiantly served the Temple community and the people of Philadelphia."

Fitzgerald was a married father of four children, ages 7 through 14. His family said he was working overtime at the time of his killing. They are devastated by his death.

There is also a memorial to the slain officer at the intersection where he was killed. "Hero" was written on a sign at the memorial.

Fittzgerald was the first line-of-duty death in the history of the campus police department, a university official said.

NBC10's Matt DeLucia reports Monday morning from the site of a growing memorial along Montgomery Avenue in North Philadelphia as people mourn the loss of Temple University Police Officer Christopher Fitzgerald, who was shot and killed in the line of duty Saturday night. Fitzgerald is being remembered as a devoted father and husband, a runner and a compassionate member of his community.

University president Jason Wingard said he was “heartbroken” and called the shooting “a gut-wrenching reminder of our police officers’ daily bravery and sacrifices to protect our students, faculty, staff and community” as the city and the nation deal with “an unprecedented epidemic of violence.”

Temple University officials said Fitzgerald, 31, had been on the university police force since October 2021.

“Officer Fitzgerald gave his life to selflessly serve and defend this community,” Jennifer Griffin, the university's vice president for public safety, said in a statement. “This loss leaves an enormous hole in all of our hearts. He was a father, a husband, a son, a colleague, and a friend.”

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro ordered all flags to be lowered to half-staff in Fitzgerald's honor.

Investigation Continues

Miles Pfeffer, 18, in police custody..

After the shooting, Fitzgerald was taken to Temple University Hospital, where he died.

Krasner's statement on the charges notes that law enforcement officials believe Pfeffer shot the officer in the head, killing him.

After Fitzgerald had been fatally injured and lay bleeding on the ground, Krasner notes in a statement, that police believe Pfeffer attempted to rob the officer of his gun and went through his pockets.

Officers with the U.S. Marshall's office arrest Miles Pfeffer.

Further, Krasner's statement alleges that Pfeffer committed a carjacking a short time after, close to the location of the officer’s murder.

“We join law enforcement and people across the region in expressing our heartbreak and outrage over this horrific crime. Officer Fitzgerald’s life was ripped from him and his loved ones violently and senselessly. As the DA’s Homicide Unit begins the work of holding Miles Pfeffer accountable for his alleged crimes, our Victims Services team will also be extending loving support to Officer Fitzgerald’s family and loved ones,” Krasner said in a statement.

“Temple University Police, the U.S. Marshals, the PPD and their colleagues in Bucks County are all to be commended for bringing this defendant into custody so quickly. Once again, I call on state and federal lawmakers to apply that same urgency toward addressing the obscene supply and availability of firearms in our communities, which robs people of their lives, futures, and freedoms in a way that no other wealthy peacetime nation tolerates. Students, staff, and public safety officers from Pennsylvania to Michigan to California deserve to live freely – absent the danger and trauma that daily gun violence imposes on every American.”  

Pfeffer was held Monday without bail.

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