Police announce arrest in fatal shooting of SWAT Officer Sergeant James O'Connor

Police say they have arrested a suspect in connection with the fatal shooting of Philadelphia Police SWAT Officer Sergeant James O'Connor.

Police announced the arrest of Hassan Elliott, 21, on Wednesday after dozens of interviews and forensic testing. Lt. Jason Hendershot says officers used Sergeant O'Connor's handcuffs while taking Elliott into custody.

The District Attorney's Office said Tuesday that they had sufficient evidence to establish that Elliott, the subject of the fugitive arrest warrant, fired the bullets that killed Sergeant James O’Connor. 

Elliott will face murder, criminal homicide of a law enforcement officer and related charges, according to prosecutors. 

“Last Friday, Philadelphia Police Corporal James O’Connor was killed while performing one of the most dangerous duties of law enforcement: serving an arrest warrant for a known fugitive. This incident involved multiple individuals and multiple shots fired from behind the walls and closed door of a second floor residence. There is no video or audio evidence of what occurred inside the residence during this incident as of today. The investigation of this incident is being led by Philadelphia Police detectives, and is very much active and in very early stages," Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said.

Hassan Elliot (Philadelphia Police Department)

Sergeant O'Connor, 46, was a member of the SWAT team of the Philadelphia Police Department. He was a 23-year veteran of the police department and had spent 15 years in SWAT. 

He leaves behind a wife and two children. One of his children serves in a separate district on the police and his daughter serves in the Air Force. 

Corporal James O'Connor, 46, was a member of the SWAT team of the Philadelphia Police Department. He was a 23-year veteran of the police department and had spent 15 years in SWAT. 

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Shortly before 6 a.m. Friday, officers were attempting to serve a warrant on the 1600 block of Bridge Street when they were met with gunfire. Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner says Elliot was being served a fugitive arrest warrant as part of an ongoing investigation relating to a 2019 murder. 

According to prosecutors, at the time of the incident, Elliott,  Khalif Sears, Bilah Mitchell and Sherman Easterling were in one bedroom of the second floor residence.

Shots were fired before officers were able to enter the residence, prosecutors said. Investigators say Sergeant James O'Connor was in the line of fire and was fatally wounded by those shots. Sears and a male resident of the unit were wounded as SWAT returned fire. Elliott, Sears, Easterling, and Mitchell were taken into custody.

Elliott has been charged in the March 2019 murder and a non-fatal shooting in Dec. 2019. Ten firearms were recovered by police from the room where the gunfire started, investigators said.

The investigation is ongoing.


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