Watch CBS News

Philadelphia Police SWAT Officer James O'Connor Shot, Killed While Serving Warrant In Frankford

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - A Philadelphia police officer was shot and killed in the city's Frankford section while serving a warrant on Friday morning. The officer was identified as 46-year-old Philadelphia Police Cpl. James O'Connor, a corporal assigned to SWAT.

FS Mug Cpl. James OConnor 3-13-2020 5-44-41 PM
Credit: CBS3

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said authorities were serving a search and arrest warrant on the 1600 block of Bridge Street, just before 6 a.m. The warrant was being served to 21-year-old Hassan Elliott for a robbery and murder that happened in March 2019.

According to police, seven people were inside the home at the time of the shooting. Four of them, all men, hid in the second-floor bedroom. That's where police believe two murder suspects, Elliott and 18-year-old Khalif Sears, were hiding when O'Connor was shot as he came up the stairs.

Outlaw said O'Connor was struck near his left shoulder blade. Another SWAT officer returned fire through the door, striking two men.

O'Connor was taken to Temple University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

"We just want everybody to know it's a very sad day, not just for officers here, but it's a very sad day for the family who is here in mourning and still trying to stomach all of this now," Outlaw said.

Outlaw says Elliott was not shot and was taken into custody. At least two other occupants were taken to the homicide unit.

Police say Sears was shot in the hand. Nine guns and narcotics were recovered from the home.

"We were there to hopefully locate and take into custody Hassan Elliott. We did not realize that his co-defendant, Khalif Sears, was going to be on location," Philadelphia Police Capt. Jason Smith said. "There were arrest warrants for murder for both individuals. By happenstance, both individuals happened to be present."

O'Connor was with the police force for 23 years and with SWAT for 15 years.

Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby knew O'Connor for two decades.

"I've known him for years. Great guy, great family, great union guy. Always a good supporter, always the first one there, unfortunately, at a fundraiser for an officer that was killed in the line of duty and unfortunately now, we're going to be doing one for him," McNesby said.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff for the next 30 days.

"I am grief-stricken to learn of the tragic death of Philadelphia Police Corporal James O'Connor," Kenney said in a statement. "Today, like every day, he demonstrated the ultimate form of heroism: putting out his uniform, leaving his family and carrying out his sworn duty to protect the residents of this city. I share my deepest condolences with those who knew and loved Corporal O'Connor. I ask all Philadelphians to keep his family, and all members of the Police Department, in your prayers at this difficult time."

O'Connor leaves behind a wife and two children - a son who is a 9th District Philadelphia police officer and daughter who is an active-duty Air Force member.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner also offered his condolences. In a statement, Krasner outlined new details into Elliott's arrest warrant.

"Following a months-long investigation, our colleagues in the Philadelphia Police Department were able to determine a probable location for Hassan Elliott," Krasner said. "Corporal O'Connor and members of the SWAT team today put their safety and lives on the line in order to bring this dangerous individual into custody."

Elliott is expected to be charged with murder.

Funeral arrangements are pending for O'Connor.

CBS3's Chantee Lans contributed to this report.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.