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January 10, 2016

Philadelphia police officer assaulted during hospital visit to ambush victim Jesse Hartnett

Surveillance video shows suspect's attempt to remove officer's handgun for holster

011016_OfficerAssaultedPPMC Contributed Art/Philadelphia Police Department

Surveillance camera captures assault on Philadelphia police officer at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center on January 9, 2016.

Philadelphia police have arrested a man they say assaulted an 18th District police officer who stopped by Penn Presbyterian Medical Center Saturday night to visit Officer Jesse Hartnett, who continues to recover from the brutal ambush shooting that took place in West Philadelphia last Thursday night.

According to authorities, the officer, who has not been identified, was working Hartnett's detail when he stopped by the Penn Presbyterian Medical Center at 51 N. Powelton Ave. around 10:42 p.m. Saturday night. As he entered the PPMC, police say he was approached by an unknown black male who told him, “I’m hungry. I haven’t eaten in five days. Do you have any money to spare?”

The officer gave the man a $5 bill and proceeded with his visit to Officer Hartnett before eventually returning to the emergency room entrance. As he stood near the exit doors, the same man he had earlier given money approached him from behind and attempted to grab his handgun from its holster.

The officer quickly spun around, preventing the suspect from removing his gun, and engaged in a brief struggle before subduing him with assistance from the Penn Security team and other officers at the scene.

After the suspect was placed in custody, he claimed he wanted the gun in order to rob a nearby business. The police officer was not injured in the struggle but the suspect sustained a minor facial injury.

Police officials emphasized that the incident was in no way related to the shooting of Officer Harnett. They added, however, that the suspect was an example of the type of individual Philadelphia Police Officers encounter on a daily basis while performing their duties.

The Police Department praised officers for their handling of the situation and thanked hospital security and Penn police for proving assistance.

Charges against the suspect, described only as a 40-year-old black male, have not yet been released.

Surveillance video of the incident can be viewed below.