‘No Imminent Threat' as FBI Unwraps ‘Tangled Web' After Ambush of Philadelphia Officer

The FBI's terror probe into the ambush shooting of a Philadelphia police officer doesn't include any other people at this point and no threat is imminent.

FBI Director James Comey spoke briefly about the investigation Wednesday in Pittsburgh then followed up with a question and answer session in Philadelphia on Thursday.

"There is no indication that (Archer) was part of a cell," said Comey. "And no indication of a follow-on attack -- I want to offer people that assurance."

Comey said the shooting is being treated as an act of terrorism and that isn't new: The FBI has been treating the shooting as such since just hours into the investigation.

In Pittsburgh, he said investigators are trying to understand the gunman's motive is "a tangled web we have to untangle."

While in Philly, Comey said the FBI isn't focused in on three other people as was reported in an earlier threat.

"I'm not saying that we're looking for three other people," said Comey when asked by NBC10 Investigator's Harry Hairston about an online threat that led to police increasing patrols in the Philadelphia region. "This investigation is continuing."

Comey went on to call the reports false and that the allegations of co-conspirators was a "garble."

He did however say that ISIL has been trying to get people to kill "anyone in their name" to spread its radical message.

Police said Yeadon resident Edward Archer, 30, told them he was acting "in the name of Islam" when he opened fire on Officer Jesse Hartnett's marked cruiser Jan. 7 at a Philadelphia intersection.

"This is a dangerous world, this is a dangerous time," said U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) while addressing the meeting after a call with FBI officials Thursday morning. U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) joined Toomey on the briefing.

Toomey said he wasn't told of any eminent threat against law enforcement nor the public. He also didn't say how Archer became "radicalized."

"We are seeing the rise of a 'lone wolf' problem," said Casey while addressing the Archer case as well as other attacks nationwide during a Thursday afternoon event at Philadelphia Police Headquarters.

Archer pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group and used a stolen police handgun, authorities said. Surveillance footage shows him closing in on the car while continuing to shoot, ultimately firing through the driver's side window as Hartnett sat behind the wheel.

"I'm bleeding heavily!" Hartnett shouted into his police radio.

The officer, who managed to return fire and shot Archer in the buttocks, suffered serious arm injuries that will require multiple surgeries, according to police.

"This guy tried to execute the officer," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said after the shooting. "I don't know how this officer survived."

Toomey praised Hartnett's bravery in fighting back after being shot and said the injured officer is receiving top-notch medical care as he recovers from his arm injury. Casey called Hartnett's actions "courageous."

Comey also expressed his gratitude to "this remarkable public servant."

Philadelphia Police are still leading the investigation, with assistance from the FBI. Investigators have said that so far, there's no indication Archer was consuming jihadist propaganda, and that trips he took to Egypt and Saudi Arabia have not been linked with terrorist activity.

In Pittsburgh, Comey declined to comment on remarks by Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney in the shooting's aftermath that it had nothing to do with Islam, saying that he wasn't sure exactly what Kenney's comments were and that they wouldn't matter in the investigation.

Archer was charged with attempted murder but hasn't entered a plea. He also faces three other felonies and four misdemeanor charges. His mother said he had been hearing voices and felt targeted by police.

Comey said the Islamic State has been "crowd-sourcing terrorism," using social media to encourage violence and sending a message that "tends to resonate with troubled souls."

An investigation continues into whether Archer had terror connections.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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