In a heart-wrenching interview, a slain police officer’s widow wept as she tore into the man charged with murdering her late husband.
“You had no right,” Marissa Fitzgerald tearfully addressed the defendant Miles Pfeffer, 18, through the camera during an interview with WCAU. “You are a coward. You are evil. I know what you did to my husband.”
Philadelphia cops said Marissa’s husband, Temple University police officer Christopher Fitzgerald, was in his patrol vehicle on Saturday when he saw three male suspects wearing all black and wearing masks. In light of recent carjackings and robberies in the area, he went to check them out, but they fled on foot. Officer Fitzgerald pursued. Two of the males suspects hid. Fitzgerald caught up to Pfeffer, who shot the officer, and kept shooting him when Fitzgerald was on the ground.
“Pfeffer is also alleged to have attempted to rob Officer Fitzgerald of his gun and to have gone through his pockets, while the officer was laying on the ground and fatally wounded,” the Philadelphia District Attorney Office wrote. “Pfeffer is further alleged to have committed a carjacking a short time after, close to the location of the officer’s murder.”
Authorities said Pfeffer had shot Fitzgerald in the head. Investigators arrested him Sunday afternoon. Charges include murder, homicide of law enforcement officer, evading arrest, violation of uniform firearms act, robbery/carjacking, theft by unlawful taking, and theft-receiving stolen property.
“We join law enforcement and people across the region in expressing our heartbreak and outrage over this horrific crime,” Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said. “Officer Fitzgerald’s life was ripped from him and his loved ones violently and senselessly. As the DA’s Homicide Unit begins the work of holding Miles Pfeffer accountable for his alleged crimes, our Victims Services team will also be extending loving support to Officer Fitzgerald’s family and loved ones. Temple University Police, the U.S. Marshals, the PPD and their colleagues in Bucks County are all to be commended for bringing this defendant into custody so quickly. Once again, I call on state and federal lawmakers to apply that same urgency toward addressing the obscene supply and availability of firearms in our communities, which robs people of their lives, futures, and freedoms in a way that no other wealthy peacetime nation tolerates. Students, staff, and public safety officers from Pennsylvania to Michigan to California deserve to live freely – absent the danger and trauma that daily gun violence imposes on every American.”
Chris is son to Joel Fitzgerald, police chief of the Regional Transportation District of Colorado.
“All of our family call for a different type of justice,” the elder Fitzgerald told NBC 10 Philadelphia.
Chris’ friend and colleague, Philadelphia deputy sheriff Jihad Ahmed, remembered him in warm terms.
“He was the type of guy who you couldn’t help but like him,” Ahmed told WTXF.
Remembering and honoring our forever hero, Police Officer Christopher Fitzgerald.
Officer Fitzgerald gave his life protecting the temple community and we are forever indebted to him. He valiantly served the temple community and the people of Philadelphia
EOW: 02/18/23 pic.twitter.com/5oRoxwxZPF
— Temple University Police Association (@officialTUPA) February 19, 2023
A GoFundMe campaign, started by the Temple University Police Association on behalf of the slain officer’s family, raised $428,638 of a $500,000 goal as of Wednesday afternoon.
Fitzgerald was the father of four children.
“Everybody would ask me how many kids do we have,” Marissa Fitzgerald said. “And I would tell them he was the biggest baby of them all.”
Chris’ final shift was overtime that he picked up. He promised his family they’d go to IHOP for chocolate chip waffles the next morning.
“‘We’ll go to tomorrow,'” Marissa said. “‘We’ll go to tomorrow.'”
The last time they saw each other: “He gave me a kiss, and he told me that he loved me, and I said, ‘I love you too.’ And when he walked out the door, he said he’d be right back. He said, ‘I’ll be right back, babe.'”
Vanessa Bein contributed to this report.
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