‘We are outraged': Officials provide new details in officer's shooting

In an update on Monday, city officials said the suspected gunman ran from police and fired three times at officers who followed on foot after his vehicle was seized on Saturday

NBC Universal, Inc.

In a dizzying series of events, police claim, a gunman fled a traffic stop, shot an officer, changed clothes and held a man hostage in his home all within the span of about 15 minutes on Saturday night.

On Monday, law enforcement officials provided this timeline to events that left a Philadelphia police officer on life support.

Philadelphia Police Department Commissioner Kevin Bethel said that the incident was a senseless shooting.

"You talk about senseless," Bethel said. "This is the most senseless [shooting] you can ever imagine."

Philadelphia officials provided an update on Monday morning on the investigation into the shooting of a police officer on Saturday evening.

Bethel said that, after watching video from the event, he had seen nothing -- no escalation or flared tempers -- in the moments that led to the officer's shooting.

"It was just a normal stop. Nothing that would give rise to the actions that ultimately occurred," Bethel said.

Deputy Police Commissioner Frank Vanore, on Monday, laid out the events that led to -- and immediately followed -- Saturday's shooting. According to Vanore, 36-year-old Ramon Rodriguez Vázquez held an innocent man hostage shortly after the shooting.

It all began, he said, at about 7:18 p.m. on Saturday after two police officers stopped a 2003 dark blue Toyota Echo along the 3600 block of F Street, in the city's Kensington neighborhood. At that time, Vanore said, officers determined the vehicle, that was driven by Vázquez, was unregistered and they needed to seize it.

Initially, police reported that there were others in the vehicle with Vázquez at the time of the stop. But, Vanore said, further investigation showed that, as the officers worked to get a tow truck, Vázquez called some friends -- a 37-year-old man and two 33-year-old women -- who came to the scene of the stop in a separate vehicle.

"We had thought they were in the car with him. That was not true. They came to the car and met him," said Vanore.

These three individuals also will not be charged in the incident, officials said on Monday.

For about 30 minutes, Vanore said, the officers, Vázquez and the others spoke, mostly in Spanish, at the vehicle as the officers conducted an inventory of what was inside the car.

At some point, Vanore said, one of the officers noticed a gun holster on the floor of the car and, when they asked Vázquez about it, he fled.

Vanore said that Vázquez fled on foot with the weapon and the shooting was unprompted.

"While he is in the middle of the street, without any provocation, he turns and he fires three shots toward the officers," Vanore said.

That was when the officer was shot in the neck, Vanore said.

One officer returned a shot that did not hit Vázquez, according to investigators. Vanore said that officer noticed his partner had been hit and immediately began to render aid.

In the moments that followed, Vanore said, videos obtained by police showed that Vázquez discarded his shirt and put on another that he had in his possession and tried to get into a garage, but was unable to.

Vanore said he then attempted to carjack a maroon van but, the driver sped away.

Vázquez continued on foot, and about 15 minutes after the shooting, he arrived on the 800 block of E. Shiller Street, where Vanore said, he took a man hostage.

"There's an individual he encounters in his 20s, sitting on the front step, just having a drink and minding his business," Vanore said. "He produces the gun, he forces that individual into his home and holds him at gunpoint."

According to Vanore, while inside the home, Vázquez asked the man for several things before eventually letting him leave as police descended on the neighborhood.

Vázquez was finally apprehended after a short barricade situation and the firearm used in the shooting was recovered.

Police officials said that Vázquez is currently in custody and he has been charged with two counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officers, gun violations, evading arrest and related offenses.

And, on Monday, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said his office would do everything they could to ensure justice is done.

"We fully intend to very vigorously prosecute this case," said Krasner. "We are outraged. We are heartbroken by this horrific incident."

In discussing the charges, Krasner said that the incident was "unacceptable."

"What this family has gone through is unspeakable," said Krasner. "It is unacceptable. We cannot have this in this city for this family. We cannot have it for law enforcement officers in general. We cannot have this happening in our communities."

Vázquez's bail is currently set at $12.5 million. His next court appearance is scheduled for July 11, 2024.

Asked the current condition of the officer injured in this incident, Bethel said that the officer is still on life support.

"He's in a battle," said Bethel.

Officials are not releasing the officer's identity out of respect for his family.

Contact Us