Police Seek Suspects in Fatal Shooting of Officer at Philadelphia Airport

The Philadelphia police said on Friday that they were looking for as many as three people who were involved in a shooting on Thursday night that killed one officer and wounded another at a parking garage at Philadelphia International Airport.

The officers, Richard Mendez, 50, and Raul Ortiz, 60, who had both served in the Philadelphia Police Department for more than 20 years, were arriving to work at the airport around 11 p.m. when they heard the sound of glass breaking, the police said.

Both officers confronted three or four suspects who were breaking into a vehicle and became involved in some type of struggle, the city’s interim police commissioner, John M. Stanford Jr., told reporters on Friday afternoon.

Officer Mendez was shot several times and Officer Ortiz was shot once in the arm. An 18-year-old who was described by the police as a suspect was also shot.

Both officers were taken to hospitals. Officer Mendez was pronounced dead at 11:34 p.m. Officer Ortiz was in stable condition as of Friday evening.

Officer Richard Mendez of the Philadelphia Police Department was fatally shot on Thursday night.Credit…Philadelphia Police Department Office of Public Affairs, via Associated Press

The suspects fled in a stolen Dodge Durango and dropped the 18-year-old off at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where he died, the police said on Friday. The Durango was found burned in South Brunswick, N.J., about 60 miles northeast of the Philadelphia airport, around 1:30 a.m. on Friday.

The police said that Officer Mendez’s gun was missing, and they were not sure if it had been fired. Investigators were sorting through evidence, including casings that were left in the parking garage, the police said.

The police on Friday released a video that they said showed one of the suspects and the Durango that was used to bring the 18-year-old to Children’s Hospital. The police said that $148,500 had been collected as a reward for information leading to an arrest.

Mayor Jim Kenney said that flags in the city would be flown at half-staff for the next 30 days. He praised the police “as they search tirelessly for the criminals that committed this act of violence.”

“We will not stop until they are in custody and brought to justice,” he said.

Commissioner Stanford said that just over a week ago, three other officers in the department had been shot. On Monday, he said, a commander died by suicide.

“A numb, numb moment for us,” he said on Friday morning. “You can imagine what this department is going through.”

Because of the shooting, Philadelphia International Airport officials closed Terminal D and the parking garage for Terminals D and E shortly after 11 p.m., a spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Aviation, Heather Redfern, said in an email.

During the lockdown, five planes held passengers for about 30 minutes, she said.

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