Suspect with 14 prior arrests released from jail 4 days before shooting Philly cop

officer shot

Officer James McCullough, left, Scott Griffin, center, and Samir Coyett, right. (Photo: Philadelphia Police Department)

The 23-year-old man who is facing charges for shooting a Philadelphia police officer following a carjacking Sunday night has a lengthy criminal record and, in fact, was released after being jailed on gun charges less than one week prior to Sunday’s shooting.

Scott Griffin, 23, was arrested in March after he was found to be in possession of a firearm while in a stolen vehicle. His preliminary hearing was scheduled for last Wednesday, but according to a local NBC affiliate, when two witnesses failed to come to court, the case was dismissed and Griffin, who has 14 prior arrests and four open cases for drugs and guns, was set free.

Four days later, on Sunday, Griffin and an accomplice, 20-year-old Samir Coyett, robbed one man and carjacked a woman at gunpoint.

After the woman’s car was stolen, she came in contact with Officer James McCullough, who subsequently went to the vehicle and confronted Griffin. The confrontation quickly turned physical and Griffin fled the scene. Officer McCullough pursued Griffin, as Covett ran in another direction. Covett, who has three prior arrests, was eventually apprehended by authorities. But during McCullough’s pursuit, Griffin turned and fired a gun at the officer, striking him in the thigh.

Griffin got away and McCullough, who was losing a large amount of blood, applied a tourniquet as his partner rushed him to the hospital. The wound was not considered life-threatening, and McCullough was treated and released the following day.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said McCullough, who has a 2-year-old daughter and is engaged to be married, looked good and strong.

That same day, about six hours prior to McCullough’s release, Griffin was arrested by undercover narcotics officers. It’s unclear at this point if that arrest came as a result of the shooting or if he was arrested under other accusations.

During his apprehension, authorities recovered a handgun found to be in Griffin’s possession. Ballistic tests will be run to determine if it was the same gun used to shoot McCullough.

The District Attorney’s office is currently determining what charges will be filed, but authorities warned the list will be lengthy.

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