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Suspect With Lengthy Criminal Record Shot After Opening Fire On Officer

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By Al Novack, Steve Beck, Walt Hunter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A suspect with a lengthy police record was shot by officers after investigators say he opened fire on them in West Philadelphia early Friday morning.

According to investigators, officers initially responded to the report of an armed robbery by two suspects at a 7-Eleven at about midnight.

A 18th District police officer was on patrol when he spotted a suspicious male near 57th Street and Baltimore Avenue.

“He went to stop the suspect. When the suspect pulled from the officer, (he) then pulled a weapon from his waistband and fired two shots at very close range at the officer,” Chief Inspector Scott Small explained.

The suspect, identified as Juan Torres, missed the officer and the officer was able to return fire, striking the suspect in the leg. However, the suspect was able to run away, but he was eventually located in an alleyway in the 5600 block of Montrose Street.

The 30-year-old suspect was taken into custody.

“He also had in his possession a .380 caliber semi-automatic handgun, which did fit the ballistics of the location where the suspect fired two shots at the officer,” Scott said.

The suspect was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania where he is listed in stable condition. He is facing numerous charges.

The officer was not injured.

“The officer was very, very fortunate in this case and fortunately he was able to return fire and strike the suspect, that’s how we were able to apprehend him,” Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said.

Investigators say the suspect has 15 prior arrests for various crimes that include illegal gun use. The suspect also had two outstanding warrants for robbery and indecent assault.

“This particular person has a long history of violence and guns … which makes it even more troubling,” Ramsey said.

Authorities say the suspect wasn’t involved in the 7-Eleven robbery, but they believe he knew he was wanted and didn’t want to go to jail.

Torres has been charged with murder, aggravated assault, violation of the uniform firearms act, simple assault, and related offenses.

Police continue to search for the two suspects involved in the 7-Eleven robbery.

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