Philadelphia police probe possible extremist ties in police shooting

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Police Investigate Whether ISIS-Inspired Shooter Was Part of Group

(Reuters) -- Philadelphia police said on Sunday they were seriously pursuing a tip provided to a street officer on Saturday that the man suspected of shooting police officer Jesse Hartnett had ties to a group with "radical beliefs."

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Police are working with the FBI to verify the credibility of the tip related to the ambush shooting on Thursday, which led to charges of attempted murder, assault and aggravated assault against Edward Archer. He later confessed to the attack and said he pledged allegiance to Islamic State, police said.

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Philadelphia police probe possible extremist ties in police shooting
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 8: A headshot of Police Officer Jesse Hartnett, 33, who was ambushed and allegedly shot at 13 times by Edward Archer, 30, last night on January 8, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Surveillance footage reveals the suspect was dressed in Muslim clothing and wearing a mask. Following his arrest, suspect Edward Archer stated, 'I follow Allah and pledge allegiance to the Islamic State and that is the reason I did what I did.' (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 8: A photograph of a video survelliance image shows Edward Archer, 30, the suspect in a shooting ambush last night of 33-year-old Police Officer Jesse Hartnett, who was shot 13 times at close range on January 8, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Surveillance footage reveals the suspect was dressed in Muslim clothing and wearing a mask. Following his arrest, suspect Edward Archer stated, 'I follow Allah and pledge allegiance to the Islamic State and that is the reason I did what I did.' (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 8: A headshot of Edward Archer, 30, the suspect of a shooting ambush last night of 33-year-old Police Officer Jesse Hartnett, who was shot 13 times at close range on January 8, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Surveillance footage reveals the suspect was dressed in Muslim clothing and wearing a mask. Following his arrest, suspect Edward Archer stated, 'I follow Allah and pledge allegiance to the Islamic State and that is the reason I did what I did.' (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
An investigator walks through the scene of a shooting Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, in Philadelphia. A Philadelphia police officer was shot multiple times by a man who ambushed him as he sat in his marked police cruiser, authorities said. (AP Photo/Joseph Kaczmarek)
Officials investigate the scene of a shooting Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, in Philadelphia. A Philadelphia police officer was shot multiple times by a man who ambushed him as he sat in his marked police cruiser, authorities said. (AP Photo/Joseph Kaczmarek)
Police Commissioner Richard Ross stands next to a still image made from a video of a shooting while speaking with members of the media during a news conference Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, in Philadelphia. A gunman ambushed a police officer in his marked cruiser at an intersection, striking him multiple times in the arm during a barrage of bullets and fleeing before being apprehended, officials said. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
An officer sits next to a displayed image of Officer Jesse Hartnett ahead of a news conference Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, in Philadelphia. A gunman ambushed a police officer in his marked cruiser at an intersection, striking him multiple times in the arm during a barrage of bullets and fleeing before being apprehended, officials said Friday. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
A man prepares to cross a street at the scene of a shooting Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, in Philadelphia. A gunman ambushed a police officer in his marked cruiser at the intersection, striking him three times in the arm during a barrage of bullets and fleeing before being apprehended, officials said Friday. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
A gun sits by a marker following a shooting Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, in Philadelphia. A Philadelphia police officer was shot multiple times by a man who ambushed him as he sat in his marked police cruiser, authorities said. (AP Photo/Joseph Kaczmarek)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 8: Reese Scott, 25, sweeps the scene of a shooting ambush last night of 33-year-old Police Officer Jesse Hartnett, who was shot 13 times at close range on January 8, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Surveillance footage reveals a suspect dressed in Muslim clothing and wearing a mask. The suspect was arrested. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 8: Blood stains are seen at the scene of a shooting ambush last night of 33-year-old Police Officer Jesse Hartnett, who was shot 13 times at close range on January 8, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Surveillance footage reveals a suspect dressed in Muslim clothing and wearing a mask. The suspect was arrested. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 8: Pedestrians walk past police tape near the scene of a shooting ambush last night of 33-year-old Police Officer Jesse Hartnett, who was shot 13 times at close range on January 8, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Surveillance footage reveals a suspect dressed in Muslim clothing and wearing a mask. The suspect was arrested. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 8: A police officer holds barrier tape several blocks away from the scene of a shooting ambush last night of 33-year-old Police Officer Jesse Hartnett, who was shot 13 times at close range on January 8, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsyvania. Surveillance footage reveals a suspect dressed in Muslim clothing and wearing a mask. The suspect was arrested. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 8: A man walks past police tape near the scene of a shooting ambush last night of 33-year-old Police Officer Jesse Hartnett, who was shot 13 times at close range on January 8, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Surveillance footage reveals a suspect dressed in Muslim clothing and wearing a mask. The suspect was arrested. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 8: Police walk through the scene of a shooting ambush last night of 33-year-old Police Officer Jesse Hartnett, who was shot 13 times at close range on January 8, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Surveillance footage reveals a suspect dressed in Muslim clothing and wearing a mask. The suspect was arrested. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
Officers investigate the scene of a shooting Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, in Philadelphia. A Philadelphia police officer was shot multiple times by a man who ambushed him as he sat in his marked police cruiser, authorities said. (AP Photo/Joseph Kaczmarek)
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Police said in a statement on Facebook on Sunday that an officer was stopped on the street on Saturday night by a citizen who began talking about Archer and the shooting that seriously wounded Hartnett.

"The citizen alleged the defendant had an affiliation to a group with radical beliefs," police said. "The Philadelphia Police Department has alerted all department personnel of this matter and will continue to have officers work with a partner until further notice."

Archer, 30, is accused of approaching Hartnett, 33, and firing 11 rounds, some at point-blank range, through the police car window. Three shots struck the officer in his arm.

Video of the attack on Hartnett shows a man in a long robe similar to the traditional dishdasha, or thobe, often worn by Muslim men in parts of the Middle East, as he opened fire on the police car. Police officers nearby arrested him.

The Philadelphia Inquirer and television station NBC10 in Philadelphia reported on Sunday that police sources said that according to the tipster, Archer was associated with three other men and was not the most extreme of the group. The sources said police were warned the threat to them was not over, the two media outlets said. Police did not immediately return a call from Reuters for comment.

The attack came at a time of heightened anxiety in the United States over the threat posed by Islamic State. A Muslim couple inspired by the militant group killed 14 people on Dec. 2 in San Bernardino, California, just weeks after gunmen linked to the group killed 130 people in Paris.

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