Family of slain Temple University officer Sgt. Fitzgerald file civil lawsuit against alleged killer's parents

The family of the officer who became Temple University Police Department's first line-of-duty death has filed a lawsuit against his alleged killer's parents. 

According to Marrone Law Firm, LLC, the legal representation for the family of Sgt. Chris Fitzgerald, the civil action lawsuit was filed against 18-year-old Miles Pfeffer's father, mother and the mother's boyfriend. 

The lawsuit was filed in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on Thursday morning, alleging the trio is liable for negligence and wrongful death in the fatal shooting. The suit also names Pfeffer for wrongful death, assault and battery. 

Police say Fitzgerald was fatally shot during a struggle with Pfeffer near 18th Street and Montgomery Avenue in North Philadelphia on February 18, 2023.

"The killer is charged with murder, but filing this lawsuit also brings other culpable individuals or people that we believe have involvement in the killing of Christopher," Fitzgerald family attorney, Joseph Marrone, explained.

RELATED: Slain Temple officer Chris Fitzgerald was patrolling area alone the night he was killed, officials say

Pfeffer was arrested the next day on the 2300 block of Quarry Road in Bucks County, according to law enforcement. 

The teen suspect was charged with murder, homicide of a law enforcement officer, evading arrest and related charges connected to Fitzgerald's death. He was also charged with theft by unlawful taking and related charges in connection with a carjacking police say followed the deadly shooting of the officer. 

Miles Pfeffer, 18 (Philadelphia Police Department) ((Philadelphia Police Department))

Officials say the deadly shooting was captured on surveillance video, which shows Pfeffer shooting Fitzgerald three times until he collapsed and then shooting him three more times as he lay on the ground. 

The lawsuit alleges Pfeffer's mother, her boyfriend and Pfeffer's father knew about his "mental instability, propensity for violence, and interest in firearms," and did nothing to stop him. 

Sources told FOX 29 that the now-18-year-old was previously charged as a juvenile for making terroristic threats against a local high school in 2022. A source confirms those charges stem from a threat made against Central Bucks South High School in November 2021. The threat caused the school to be evacuated, and the students were sent home early. 


The lawsuit claims despite Pfeffer's history, his parents failed to take necessary steps to prevent Sgt. Fitzgerald's death. 


"This lawsuit will hold Pfeffer's family legally responsible for the negligence and enablement that contributed to Sgt. Fitzgerald's tragic death," Marrone said. "Chris was a loving husband and father, as well as a dedicated officer with a distinguished record of service to the Temple University community. His senseless death has left a deep void in the lives of his family, friends and fellow officers." 

The lawsuit also alleges Pfeffer's parents helped provide transportation and lodging in the hours before and after the shooting. 

"Today's action serves as a reminder of the importance of pursuing justice and accountability in cases involving brutal and preventable acts of violence. As the legal process unfolds, the entire country will be watching closely, hoping for a just resolution for Sgt. Fitzgerald's family," Marrone said.