- Associated Press - Monday, March 2, 2020

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Police say a man accused of stealing an ambulance and driving in the direction of an officer who shot him three times before an hour-long chase through Philadelphia has been charged with multiple counts of aggravated assault.

Police said Monday that 42-year-old Mark Giwerowski is also charged with robbery, carjacking, fleeing police, reckless endangering and other counts.

Officers were called to a hotel Friday night after a 43-year-old female guest ran from a room screaming for help and the defendant, bleeding from the face, was seen leaving the same room. Police say he later became combative toward fire department personnel, jumped into the ambulance and reversed, hitting a police officer with the driver’s side door and striking a police unit, and then drove in the direction of the same officer. Police say that officer fired four times, hitting the man through the driver’s door in the leg and side before the low-speed chase began.

Police said the ambulance traveled at speeds between 10 and 25 mph (16 to 40 kph) for more than an hour, covering a distance of less than 2 1/2 miles (4 kilometers) and tracked all the time by police helicopter. Police said the ambulance struck a civilian vehicle, which was occupied, and two unoccupied police vehicles.

Highway patrol officers eventually apprehended the suspect after a brief struggle during which a stun gun was used, enabling officers to handcuff him. He was taken to Jefferson-Torresdale Hospital and listed in critical condition with three gunshot wounds. The officer struck by the ambulance door was treated and released and the occupants of the civilian vehicle struck were also taken to a hospital for examination.

Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said authorities are relieved that “injuries to all involved weren’t more severe” but called police use of a firearm “the most serious action a police officer can undertake” and vowed “a thorough, complete and objective investigation.” The pursuit, like all vehicle pursuits, will also undergo internal review.

It’s unclear whether Giwerowski has an attorney; a message could not be left at a number listed for him.

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