PHILADELPHIA – A Philadelphia police officer was shot and killed and another officer was wounded inside an airport parking garage as they attempted to stop thieves breaking into a vehicle upon arriving for work Thursday night.
The officers were just beginning their shift about 11:00 p.m. as part of the department’s Airport Unit when fatal gunfire erupted inside a parking garage at the Philadelphia International Airport, police officials confirmed, according to the New York Post.
Interim Commissioner John Stanford said the two officers — a 50-year-old and a 60-year-old — just stepped out of their vehicle inside the public parking garage when they “observed a few individuals breaking into another vehicle.”
As they confronted the suspects, one opened fire and shot the 50-year-old officer multiple times in the torso.
The two officers had just stepped out of their vehicle inside the parking garage when they “observed a few individuals breaking into another vehicle.” (Screenshot FOX 29 Philadelphia)
The 22-year law enforcement veteran was pronounced dead at 11:34 p.m. inside Penn Presbyterian Medical Center.
Authorities have not released the officer’s name since additional family members were being notified, but said he leaves behind a wife and one child, NBC 10 reported.
“The officer that was pronounced … that was murdered tonight, he is married with a child, they are here at the hospital, as you can imagine, heartbroken and devastated that their family member is not coming home tonight,” Stanford said.
The second officer suffered a gunshot wound in the arm and was transported to Jefferson University Hospital in stable condition, according to Stanford.
One person believed to be involved in the shooting was struck by gunfire and apparently transported to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in a private automobile, where the individual was pronounced dead.
Though Stanford was unable to confirm the deceased person at CHOP was part of the shooting, he said that individual was “very similar to the suspect description.”
Stanford has grown weary after Philadelphia police officers have been shot at multiple times this month, including three times last week, the New York Post reported.
“A numb moment for us tonight to again encounter something like this. We just had three officers shot last week and then this tonight.”
“So you can imagine what we feel, you could imagine what this department is going through, and quite frankly how this city should be feeling to know that this is happening to two of the men that have served them twenty-plus years and ultimately one giving his life tonight for the city of Philadelphia,” he added.
Police continue looking for additional perpetrators involved in the shooting.
A Dodge Durango associated to the suspects was later found burned in New Jersey, Action News 6 in Philadelphia reported.
It’s unclear where in New Jersey the vehicle was located, but it had reportedly been stolen. Sources said the charred Durango was used by the suspects involved in the shooting, and the same vehicle that dropped off a man who later died from gunshot wounds at Children’s Hospital at 11:29 p.m.
The deceased 18-year-old male had gunshot wounds to the chest, abdomen, and left arm, police said. He was pronounced dead at 11:37 p.m. His name has not yet been released.
The Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, Delco FOP Lodge 27 and the Temple University Police Association have pooled resources and are offering a $35,000 reward for the suspects capture, Action News 6 reported.
The reward will be paid immediately for any information that leads to an arrest, the Philly FOP said.
“You bring them in today you’re paid today,” said FOP Lodge 5 President John McNesby.
This is in addition to the $20,000 reward offered by the City of Philadelphia for an arrest and conviction in all murder cases.
Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or 215-686-TIPS.
UPDATE: Officer Richard Mendez was identified by the Philadelphia Police Department as the fallen officer who was shot and killed late Thursday night.
Philadelphia Officer Richard Mendez, 50, was shot and killed Thursday upon intervening in a vehicle break-in while arriving for his shift at the Philadelphia International Airport, police said.
The other officer, Raul Ortiz, 60, was wounded in the arm. He is listed in stable condition, the New York Post reported.
One suspect, identified as 18-year-old Jesus Herman Madera-Duran, was shot and fled the scene in a stolen black Dodge Durango before responding officers arrived.
A short time later, police believe the vehicle arrived at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and dropped off the wounded suspect.
Interim Deputy Commissioner Frank Vanore said investigators had not yet confirmed that Madera-Duran was the shooter or how he was shot.
He said investigators were still trying to identify as many as three additional suspects.
Police released video showing Madera-Duran getting dropped off at the hospital.
This video shows at least one suspect wanted in connection to the shooting of two Philadelphia Police officers. It also shows the vehicle that the suspect(s) used to drop off a shooting victim at @ChildrensPhila. Call or Text 215-686-TIPS(8477) with info. Reward up to $148,000 pic.twitter.com/MWEzUB6Hcs
— Philadelphia Police Department (@PhillyPolice) October 13, 2023