- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 14, 2016

The FBI is investigating last week’s shooting of a Philadelphia police officer as an act of terrorism, leading lawmakers to call for increased homeland security resources to aid in the prevention of domestic terror threats.

During a visit to a Pittsburgh field office, FBI Director James Comey confirmed the agency is probing for potential terrorist motivation in the shooting of Officer Jessie Hartnett. The man arrested for the attack, Edward Archer, told investigators that he carried out the shooting “in the name of Islam.” Following his arrest, police said they received a tip that Archer had an affiliation with a group that holds radical beliefs.

“We are investigating that as a terrorist attack and trying to understand, as we do in all these cases, what were the motivations. Often it’s a tangled web we have to untangle — who directed or inspired the individual, if anyone — and who else might have been involved,” Mr. Comey told reporters Wednesday. “That’s the work we do and that’s the work we’re doing right now on that case.”

Mr. Comey and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross visited Officer Hartnett in the hospital Thursday.

“Every day he is getting a little better, but he’s got a lot of recovery to go through,” Commissioner Ross said during a press conference Thursday.

Officer Hartnett was shot three times in the arm in during a dramatic ambush that was caught a on surveillance camera. In the video, a man is seen firing up to 13 times at a police cruiser as he runs up to the vehicle — at one point firing into the cruiser while his arm is all the way inside the driver’s side window. Officer Hartnett was able to chase after the man, firing off several rounds that struck the man, who was later taken into custody by responding officers.

Officials declined Thursday to provide further details about the investigation into Archer, including whether they have found any links between him and terrorist organizations.

Noting both the attack on Officer Harnett and the December arrest of a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania man now charged with providing material support to the Islamic State, Senator Bob Casey on Thursday said more resources are needed to help local and federal law enforcement share information about violent extremism. The Pennsylvania Democrat announced his support of legislation that would provide training and programming for local organizations that are seeking to counter violent extremism.

“Law enforcement officers like Officer Hartnett and his colleagues here at the Philadelphia police department are increasingly on the front lines of our homeland security,” Mr. Casey said. “The federal government must offer these professionals all the resources, training, and support they need to keep our communities safe.”


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