By Joseph A. Gambardello
Two police officers escaped harm when a drug suspect fired at them with a gun hidden in a jacket sleeve and kept pulling the trigger as they wrestled him to the ground, official said.
Fortunately, police said, the suspect's .45-caliber pistol jammed after the first shot.
The shooting and arrest occurred Monday night in North Philadelphia, near North Franklin and Dauphin Streets. Police said Officers Linwood Norman and Jeffrey Walker and Sgt. Joseph McCloskey were involved in an operation to buy crack cocaine from an alleged dealer named Demetrius Toliver, 20.
With Toliver was John Sullivan, 19, described by Capt. Christopher Werner, commander of Narcotics Field Unit 2, as Toliver's "muscle."
When Norman and Walker moved in to make the arrest, Toliver told Sullivan the two were officers and Sullivan ran toward them while Toliver fled, Werner said.
Five feet from Norman, Sullivan raised his arm and fired the gun from inside his jacket sleeve, but missed, Werner said.
"He knew they were police officers," the captain said.
He said the officers would have been within police guidelines if they had pulled their guns and but their proximity to Sullivan left them no option but to tackle him.
"They got him on the ground and he was still pulling the trigger, but the gun had stovepiped," Werner said, using a term for when pistol jams and does not retract into the firing position.
Back-up officers arrested Toliver nearby. Sullivan, of the 2000 block of Marshall Street, was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy and other offenses.
Philly officers subdue man who shot at them