Two Philadelphia police officers were shot and suffered non-fatal wounds Monday at a Fourth of July fireworks display, one of whom came within inches of certain death and survived by a miracle.
The officers were hit by gunfire at the 2500 block of Spring Garden Street around 10 p.m., where a large crowd had gathered for a concert headlined by Jason Derulo and fireworks show to follow, WTXF-TV reported.
The shooting reportedly took place somewhere behind a Ferris wheel set up on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Authorities said that a Philadelphia officer assigned to highway patrol suffered a graze wound to his head. Incredibly, the bullet that hit him was lodged in the officer’s cap, where it came to a stop.
“It is miraculous the fact that the round stopped in his hat,” Commissioner Danielle Outlaw told reporters. “I think initially it went up the inside and hit his forehead and then the round stopped in his hat.”
A second officer, a member of the Montgomery County bomb squad, was shot in the right shoulder.
Both officers were transported to Jefferson University Hospital to receive treatment for their injuries and were in stable condition, police said. They have since been released from the hospital.
An investigation into the shooting is ongoing.
Philadelphia Lodge #5 of the Fraternal Order of Police has offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the shooter.
“We were inches away from planning a funeral for at least one brave Philadelphia Highway Patrol officer as a bullet lodged in his cap,” FOP Lodge #5 President John McNesby said. “There are too many guns on our streets and far too many individuals acting recklessly with these deadly weapons.”
The police union said the Philadelphia highway patrol officer was carrying a funeral mass card in his hat honoring a beloved police chaplain, Father Steven Wetzel, who had recently passed away.
“Father Steve has always supported and counseled our officers over the years and even now he’s still working miracles for our heroes,” McNesby said.
Philadelphia’s Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney spoke out after the shooting, saying that the U.S. should be more like Canada, where only police officers are permitted to carry firearms.
“That’s the way it should be here,” he said.
The police shooting in Philadelphia happened on the same day as a mass shooting in a suburb north of Chicago, Illinois. A gunman positioned on a rooftop murdered six people and injured at least 31 more at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park. Police have apprehended a person of interest in the shooting.