PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – While stumping for votes inside a South Carolina town hall meeting, Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio called the shooting of Philadelphia Police Officer Jesse Hartnett “an act of terrorism.”
“There was a terrorist attack (Thursday) in the city of Philadelphia,” Rubio said, referring to suspect Edward Archer, who claims he shot the officer in the name of Islam. “The Police Chief stands up and says, ‘this is the guy, he says he did it in the name of ISIS.’ And then the mayor stands up and says this has nothing to do with Islam and radical Islam. This is absurd, this is ridiculous.”
But Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney stood by his comments following the shooting investigation, downplaying the shooter’s religious claims.
“That act of that terrible man in almost assassinating our police officer was an individual act of criminality; it was not an act of religion,” the mayor said. “No religion promotes that. If a deranged Christian blows up a Planned Parenthood office, that doesn’t mean that every Christian wants to blow a Planned Parenthood office.”
Kenney dismissed any notion that the shooting was a form of terrorism.
“There’s violent people in the world, and sad to say, too many violent people, and too many people with guns,” he said, “but that has nothing to do with religious belief.”
Mayor Kenney added that he was saddened that suspect linked his violence to a peaceful religion.