By Madeleine Wright

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Detectives are searching for the gunman who carjacked an off-duty Philadelphia police officer at gunpoint. The officer’s Toyota Highlander was later found on fire.

The carjacking happened at 56th and Pentridge Streets in Kingsessing Friday shortly after midnight.

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Police say the officer was parking his vehicle when a gunman walked up, reached into the officer’s pocket for the keys and took the 2020 Toyota Highlander.

As the vehicle was driving away, the officer fired seven times, hitting the driver’s side of the vehicle. It’s unknown whether the carjacker was hit.

A resident didn’t want to show her face but says her family ducked for cover when they heard the shooting.

“Everyone was scared, because it sounded like it was literally next to my house,” she said.

As the suspect fled the scene, he crashed into two parked vehicles.

Several hours later, the stolen SUV was found abandoned and on fire about a mile away in the 5900 block of Delancey Street in Cobbs Creek.

(Credit: CBS3)

 

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Firefighters extinguished the flames, but the vehicle was destroyed.

“The off-duty officer was able to contact police, 911,” Chief Inspector Scott Small said. “When police officers arrived on the scene, the off-duty officer was shaken up because he was robbed point of gun.”

A few minutes after the officer opened fire on the carjacker, a vehicle showed up at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center and dropped off someone with a gunshot wound to the hand, but police don’t know if he was involved in the carjacking.

“We believe it may be a juvenile,” Small said. “And the vehicle that dropped this shooting victim off at Presbyterian Hospital fled the scene, for some reason.”

The officer is the latest victim in a disturbing upward trend of carjackings and attempted carjackings in Philadelphia. There were 71 in 2019, 121 in 2020, 250 in 2021 and 628 in 2022.

Residents are taking extra precautions.

“I won’t come out that time of night no more because you’re not safe,” a woman said. “You’re not safe to come outside your house.”

If you have any info on who or where the carjacker is, give police a call.

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For a list of gun violence resources in Philadelphia, click here.

Madeleine Wright