Friday, May 19, 2006

Philly Cop Killer Finally Caught...(and Shot)!

Thank God.

This has been a HUGE story here in Philly --with "Wanted" signs hanging in almost every store...

A man held up a bar with a shotgun and a handgun. Had the bartender empty the till and the patrons empty out their ATM accounts. One girl called 911 from the bathroom. When Officer Gary Skerski responded to the call the man shot him in the neck with no hesitation. Skerski died and the suspect was on the run.

"It's possible the man who killed officer Skerski has had sophisticated weapons training because of the relative ease in which he handled 2 guns.

"You get the feeling: #1 he's done this before, #2, he's comfortable with the weapons as he's handling them, and #3 he obviously wouldn't hesitate to use them." (source)

This happened 12 days ago. He has finally been caught --and is in critical condition. Thankfully doctors say that he will live --and he can stand trial and face Officer Skerski's family. (Skerski was only 46 years old with a wife and two kids. He was working overtime at the time of the fatal shooting. The first fatal shooting of a Philly officer in a decade).

"...sometime after midnight, some of Solomon Montgomery's family members went to homicide detectives telling them they believed the man in the released police composite was their relative. They brought in a picture of him taken at a family picnic in which he is wearing the same Rocawear jacket seen in the surveillance video at Pat's Cafe during the robbery that led to Officer Gary Skerski's murder. Police sources say after U.S. marshal's developed intelligence that Montgomery was hiding out at the Manor Court Apartments in the 5600 block of Ogontz, homicide detectives and FBI agents, went out to conduct surveillance until the SWAT unit could arrive. But before SWAT could arrive, Montgomery was spotted coming out of the building and getting into a stolen grey Volvo.

Commissioner Sylvester Johnson/Philadelphia police: "The detectives approached him, the male rammed his car almost at full speed into two police vehicles and did a lot of damage to them."

Montgomery's stolen Volvo was trapped between the undercover police vehicles and couldn't move further.

Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross/Philadelphia police: "He subsequently exits the vehicle and as he's running away the detectives can clearly see that this male is attempting to pull a gun out of his back pocket. At some point in time he's chased around the corner where two detectives actually discharge their weapons."

One bullet struck Montgomery in the leg; another struck him in the arm and then entered his chest. He was rushed to Einstein Medical Center where he is listed in critical but doctors say he will survive. Police say Montgomery was carrying two semi-automatic weapons.

"I just want to give the homicide detectives a lot of credit because we very well could of had two more police officers shot today."

Montgomery was on the run from authorities in California. On July 17th of last year, police in Emeryville found him hiding in the bushes outside an establishment. Following a brief altercation, he was charged with resisting arrest, carrying an unregistered 44-caliber handgun and receiving stolen property. He never showed up for court and a warrant for his arrest was issued. He was also previously arrested in Philadelphia for a robbery at gunpoint but was acquitted by a Philadelphia judge. While police are relieved they may have Officer Skerski's killer, they know they still have a lot of work ahead of them.

Johnson: "At this point there's not enough to say that he was or was not, again, we're just following the lead and again we don't have enough information to say whether he did or he didn't." (source)

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