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Off-duty Pa. officer shot, wounded exiting car

Robert Penn, 46, who had just finished his shift, exited his parked car and was approached by an unknown gunman

By Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman
The Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA — Homicide detectives are searching for the gunman who shot and wounded an off-duty Philadelphia police officer early Sunday near his home in the city's Overbrook Park section, police said.

Robert Penn, 46, who had just finished his shift, exited his parked car in a rear driveway on the 7300 block of Brentwood Road about 12:10 a.m. and was approached by an unknown gunman, police said. The gunman uttered something to the officer and then shot him once in the right shoulder, with the bullet exiting through the officer's back, police said.

Penn was rushed to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was listed in stable condition Sunday morning, police said. Penn is married to a Philadelphia police officer and has a 9-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son, according to Lt. John Stanford, a police spokesman.

"He's coming along fine. He just has to do some therapy," the officer's mother, Patricia Penn, said Sunday morning. "I am doing the best I can. I am praying a lot."

The circumstances that left Penn shot are similar to those that left Philadelphia Police Officer Moses Walker Jr. shot and killed about two years ago.

Walker, 40, a 19-year veteran of the force, was gunned down shortly before 6 a.m. on Aug. 18, 2012, four blocks from the 22d District station. He was walking to the bus stop after his shift. Two suspects stopped him and announced a robbery, police said, and as Walker tried to draw his personal gun, he was shot in the chest, the stomach, and one arm. He died at Hahnemann University Hospital.

The suspects, Rafael Jones, 24, and Chancier McFarland, 20, face trial on murder charges.

Penn is a 24-year veteran of the police force, assigned to the 16th District, which extends across portions of West Philadelphia.

Stanford said police have not determined a motive for the crime but that it appears only one shot was fired.

The gunman fled the scene of the shooting on foot,, police said. He was described 5-foot-8 and wearing a black jacket, black pants and black hat.It is standard policy for homicide detectives to get involved anytime a Philadelphia police officer is shot, Stanford said.

Police will return to the 7300 block of Brentwood Road to speak with any witnesses and pull any available surveillance footage, he said.

Officers early Sunday afternoon had not yet conducted a full interview with Penn, Stanford said."It is still early in the investigation," he said, adding that details such as the type of gun used in the shooting and whether Penn tried to draw an off-duty gun, would become known as the investigation continues.

Copyright 2014 The Philadelphia Inquirer


McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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