The fatal shooting of a police officer inside a Philadelphia airport parking garage has been arrested
Veteran officers Richard Mendez and Raul Ortiz confronted two people who broke into a car at the airport before the attack late Thursday.
Both officers were taken to hospitals, but Mendez — who was shot multiple times — was pronounced dead about 30 minutes later. Mr. Ortiz – who was shot once in the arm – was released from the hospital on Saturday.
Police are scheduled to hold a press conference Monday afternoon local time to announce more details. The force previously offered a reward of up to $184,500 for information leading to the arrest of the suspects.
The suspects fled the scene in an SUV that authorities later learned had been reported stolen in the city about a week ago. The vehicle was later seen at a Philadelphia hospital transporting 18-year-old Jesus Herman Madera Duran, who authorities say is believed to be involved in the confrontation with officers.
Duran was shot in the chest, abdomen and left arm, and was pronounced dead at around 11.30pm on Thursday.
Authorities said it was not clear whether any other suspects were injured in the shooting or how many people opened fire.
Interim Police Commissioner John Stanford noted that the shooting came just one week after three officers were shot and wounded while responding to a call. “It’s a numbing, numbing moment for us to be faced with something like this again,” he said.
Mendez, 50, was a 22-year police veteran and was married with one daughter. Stanford said his gun has not been found, and it is not yet known if anyone fired the weapon during the confrontation.
Mr. Ortiz, 60, is a 20-year veteran of the ministry. He is married and has three children.
We are happy to announce this champion @Phillipolipolis Officer Raul Ortiz returns home days after receiving excellent care @TJUHospital. Thank you all for wrapping your arms around him and his family; Our administration and our city will always be on their side! pic.twitter.com/3jmZoVtd7T
– Philadelphia Police Department (@PhillyPolice) October 14, 2023
Joseph Reagan, president of the Fraternal Order of the State Lodge of Police, also mourned Mendez’s death, telling reporters: “We have lost a hero.”
Speaking Friday at a news conference to announce the police union bonus, Lodge 5 President John McNesby said the city’s police force is “understaffed” and said more officers are needed on the streets. He also criticized the prosecutor’s office, saying that if violent crime perpetrators are not prosecuted “it sends the message that they can do whatever they want.”
McKensby described the two officers as “outstanding” and noted their long service to the city, and said the loss was tough on their colleagues and the department.
“I saw more tears last night than I’ve seen in all the years I’ve been here,” McKensby said.
president Joe BidenHe, who was in Philadelphia on Friday, offered his condolences to the officers’ families.
“They put their lives on the line to protect this community,” he said.