Philly chief inspector: Officers showed restraint not firing at armed robbers

Philadelphia police

Police Chief Inspector Scott Small addresses a group of reporters following the early morning robbery and shooting. (Photo: NBC)

Philadelphia police officers who apprehended three armed robbery suspects early Friday morning were praised by the chief inspector for not firing any shots, despite the fact that they were being fired upon by those they were pursuing.

Police Chief Inspector Scott Small told reporters in a statement there was no question the suspects – who are 17, 18 and 19 years old – were intentionally targeting the police officers in pursuit of them and no mistaking who the officers were, as they were all in full uniform.

The teens were originally wanted for a robbery committed around 1:30 a.m. The 21-year-old victim said the teens approached him while armed with a gun and took his wallet, about $30 in cash and his cell phone before fleeing in a black pickup truck.

Soon thereafter, authorities located a truck that matched the description of the one driven by the suspects and initiated a traffic stop. However, as the officer approached the truck, the suspects drove off at a high rate of speed, leading law enforcement on a brief pursuit.

Officers caught up with the teens for the second time, but as the officers again approached the truck, one of the suspects fired at the officer. Small confirmed that none of the officers fired their service pistols during the pursuit, which continued on foot.

All three suspects were apprehended a short time later and positively identified by the robbery victim. The suspects were charged with robbery, aggravated assault and other related offenses.

A semi-automatic handgun was found near the area where the pursuit ended. Investigators also found a spent shell casing in the alleyway where the suspect fired at the officer, the caliber of which matched the weapon found nearby

Neither the suspects, the officers, or the victim of the robbery were injured.