PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Authorities say two suspects are in custody after a Pa. State Trooper was shot on I-676 Tuesday morning.
Police identify the shooter as a 17-year-old.
The state trooper, identified by police as Trooper Patrick Casey, was taken to Hanhemann Hospital after being shot in the shoulder. He is listed in stable condition and is expected to be released in time for Thanksgiving.
“The most important thing is the trooper is in stable condition, in good spirits, awake, alert, talking and that’s the most important thing right now, ” Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said.
“He asked me how I was doing. I said well that’s really not the question right now. The question is how are you doing. And he smiled and he’s obviously trying to deal with the fact that he was just shot, which is not a good thing, but in any event, brief chat, good conversation, again very alert, awake, paying attention to what’s going on, he’s well aware of what has happened and he’s getting great care here at Hahnemann,” he continued.
The violent confrontation happened around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Police say two troopers originally stopped the suspect’s vehicle for expired registration.
Police say the troopers began to investigate the four occupants of the vehicle, at which time authorities started to identify them.
“One was placed in cuffs in the back of the car and two were sitting on the barrier. The fourth got back into the car, even though he had been removed, and took off.”
Police say a pursuit was then initiated by Trooper Casey, William Evans and Trooper Timothy Jeter.
Authorities say the pursuit went westbound on 76 then eastbound on 676. At that point, Trooper Casey got in front of the fleeing car in an attempt to box him in and stop him.
Police say the trooper’s car was then rammed by the suspect’s vehicle, and at some point the suspect’s car got alongside Trooper Casey’s vehicle and the suspect began firing.
The suspect’s car then slammed into the back of a school bus, causing both vehicles to burst into flames, police say.
No children were on the school bus at the time of the incident, and the driver of the school bus is okay but shaken up, according to the bus company.
Trooper Casey began to take fire once the suspect got out of his car, and police say he then started to return shots.
Authorities say the alleged shooter is now in custody after a brief foot pursuit. Police are still looking for two others who were in the car when it was originally pulled over.
Police say Trooper Casey, 31, is expected to make a full recovery and is expected to remain in the hospital overnight.
An eyewitness, Steve Glowacki says, “This bus had been hit by this white car and there was a gun fight going on. All of the sudden, the gunfire stopped and state police kept yelling to this fellow, whoever he was, to put the gun down.”
Another witness, Gail Weinnig said, “My first thought was I’m so terrified there were children in that bus.”
“Heard a lot of noise and we thought it was gunfire and we looked out the window and sure enough there was exchange of gunfire,” said witness Brett Pastorius
“The one guy got out of the passenger side car, looked like he was giving himself up , got down on his hands and knees and the cops came up to him with their guns drawn and he stood up and just started running, jumped over the median , ran up the westbound lanes of 676 and then they caught him just a few hundred yards away so he didn’t get very far,” said eyewitness Ron Meyers.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf released the following statement on the shooting:
‘My thoughts and prayers are with the Pennsylvania State Police Trooper shot on Interstate 676 in the line of duty today. I received an update from Acting Commissioner Blocker a short time ago and I am relieved to learn that the Trooper is in stable condition at a hospital in Philadelphia. Our men and women in law enforcement put their lives on the line each day to protect us, and we owe them a debt of gratitude. The shooter was swiftly taken into custody by the Pennsylvania State Police. No further details are available at this time.’
The President of the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association issued the following statement:
“This morning we are reminded of the sacrifice police officers are ready to make every time they put on their uniform. Our wounded brother is a hero, and we’re relieved to learn he will recover from his injuries.”
Officials say I-676 is now completely reopen to traffic.