February 19, 2023
An 18-year-old Bucks County man will be charged in connection to the murder of on-duty Temple University police officer Christopher Fitzgerald that occurred around 7 p.m. Saturday evening near the border of Temple's campus, according to the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office.
Miles Pfeffer of Buckingham Township allegedly shot Fitzgerald in the head, killing him, District Attorney Larry Krasner said in a statement released on Sunday. After the shooting, Pfeffer attempted to rob Fitzgerald of his gun and go through his pockets, all while the officer was laying on the ground fatally wounded. Pfeffer then allegedly committed a carjacking near the scene a short time after.
Fitzgerald encountered Pfeffer during the course of an incident investigation, according to the DA's Office.
U.S. Marshals and Bucks County law enforcement took Pfeffer into custody around 7 a.m. Sunday morning. He was transferred to Philadelphia shortly after where he was arrested by Philadelphia Police, who are leading the investigation into the murder. The DA’s Office Homicide/Non-Fatal Shootings Unit will be prosecuting Pfeffer.
"We join law enforcement and people across the region in expressing our heartbreak and outrage over this horrific crime," Krasner said in a statement. "Officer Fitzgerald’s life was ripped from him and his loved ones violently and senselessly ... 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."
Pfeffer will face charges including murder, murder of a law enforcement officer, robbery, carjacking, possession of an instrument of crime and other related offenses. Like all defendants charged with murder, Pfeffer is ineligible for release on bail.
The fallen officer was identified as Fitzgerald through a statement made Sunday by Jennifer D. Griffin, Temple University's Vice President for Public Safety. Fitzgerald was hired by the university on Oct. 4, 2021, and was a husband and father of four.
Pfeffer was taken into custody using Fitzgerald's handcuffs, which is a "tradition ... any time there is a fallen officer," according to Robert Clark, Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal.
Fitzgerald was pronounced dead Saturday night at Temple University Hospital, Temple University president Jason Wingard said in a statement on Saturday.
"Philadelphia and the nation are dealing with an unprecedented epidemic of violence, and the tragedy that took place tonight is a gut-wrenching reminder of our police officers’ daily bravery and sacrifices to protect our students, faculty, staff and community," Wingard said.
A GoFundMe has been set up by the Temple University Police Association to gather donations that will go towards Fitzgerald's funeral and provide support for his family. Within an hour of the page's creation, it had already accumulated over $16,000. The group has also set up a vigil for the fallen officer at 17th and Montgomery, near the location of the murder.
Remembering and honoring our forever hero, Police Officer Christopher Fitzgerald.— Temple University Police Association (@officialTUPA) February 19, 2023
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
"Officer Fitzgerald was a loving husband, father, friend, and public servant whose dedication to his family and community was unmatched," the Temple University Police Association wrote on their GoFundMe page. "Officer Fitzgerald loved being a police officer, and he will always be remembered for his fearlessness in fighting crime and his compassion for his community."
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