Police share new details in traffic stop shooting of Philadelphia police officer: 'We're outraged'

Investigators in Philadelphia provided new details Monday on a traffic stop turned shooting that critically wounded a Philadelphia police officer over the weekend. 

Ramon Rodriguez Vazquez, 36, was charged with numerous crimes, including two counts of attempted murder of a police officer and aggravated assault on an officer.

Deputy Commissioner Frank Vanore told reporters that two officers stopped a Toyota on the 35000 block of Epps Street in Kensington just after 7 p.m. Saturday. 

During the stop it was learned that the driver, later identified as Vazquez, did not have a driver's license and the vehicle was not registered. Vanore explained that police initiated a ‘live-stop,’ meaning the car would be towed by the Philadelphia Parking Authority and confiscated. 

Investigators say three people who they originally thought were inside the car during the traffic stop arrived at the scene in their own vehicle. Two 33-year-old women and a 37-year-old man stayed during the roughly 30 minute traffic stop and helped Vazquez remove items from the car, police said. 


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As police inventoried items inside the car prior to it being towed, Vanore said an officer found a gun holster on the floor. Investigators say when officers approached Vazquez about the holster, he threw down items he had taken from the vehicle and started to run.

Vanore said during the chase, Vazquez fired three shots at the officers "without provocation," striking one officer in the neck. The officer, a 31-year-old with over 6 years on the force, was given aid by his partner and rushed to Temple University Hospital. 

"The tow truck driver was really integral in helping get him into the car and get him to the hospital so fast," Vanore said. "Then he stayed on the scene, guarding that scene pretty much for us until other officers arrived." 

Ramon Rodriguez Vazquez, 36, was charged with numerous crimes, including two counts of attempted murder of a police officer and aggravated assault on an officer.

Investigators believe Vazquez tried to change his shirt and enter a garage while on the run, but was turned away. He is also accused of trying unsuccessfully to carjack someone at the intersection of G and Tioga streets. 

Police say Vazquez came across a 20-year-old man sitting on the steps of a home and forced him inside at gunpoint. Investigators say he allowed the 20-year-old to leave the house after a short time, and police soon swarmed the home. 

While holed up in the property, investigators believe Vazquez was trying to arrange for a way out of the city. A SWAT team eventually entered the home and arrested Vazquez. A Glock 26 9mm handgun was found inside the home, investigators said.

FOX 29 learned that the car driven by Vasquez had temporary Delaware tags that did not match the 2003 blue Toyota Echo. Investigators believe that is a reason the car was pulled over for the routine traffic stop in the first place. 

The PPD directive on vehicle investigations states "while a traffic stop allows passengers to be detained during the investigation, it does not automatically authorize an officer to frisk the driver or passengers. officers must have additional reasonable suspicion to believe the driver or a passenger has a weapon that could harm the officer."

Sources tell FOX 29 that investigators don’t believe the officers had suspicion that Rodriguez-Vazquez was armed until they saw the holster.

Sources say police are working with the FBI on obtaining paper records in Puerto Rico about Vazquez’ arrest in 2006.

Articles provided to FOX 29 say the suspect was arrested along with another man for carjacking and firing shots at law enforcement with stolen guns.

Vazquez is being held on $12M bail, District Attorney Larry Krasner said Monday. 

"We are outraged, we are heartbroken, by this horrific incident," Krasner said. 

Mayor Cherelle Parker said in a social media post that the officer is "on life support" on a breathing machine. She also asked residents to pray for "a husband, a father, and a son" who was doing "a noble job under very tough circumstances."

Over the past eight months, gunfire has killed one Philadelphia officer and wounded eight others.

In October, Officer Richard Mendez was killed and another officer wounded in a shooting while investigating a suspected car break-in in a parking lot at Philadelphia International Airport. Three New Jersey men are awaiting trial in that case. Earlier in the month, three officers were wounded in a shootout at a northeast Philadelphia home after an argument reportedly over a video game erupted in gunfire.


Philly community reacts to tragic shooting of police officer: 'It's really bad all the time'

From police officers to Philly residents, the city of brotherly love is reacting to the news of yet another officer shot on-duty, as he fights for his life in the hospital.

In December, an exchange of gunfire after the pursuit of a shooting suspect wounded two officers. In January, an officer was shot in a corner store and a suspect was killed by another officer. A few days later, an officer was shot in a hand while serving a warrant.

In neighboring Delaware County in February, authorities said two officers were wounded by gunfire from an East Lansdowne home before it burned to the ground. Six sets of remains were recovered, and the suspect and four relatives – two adults and two juveniles -- died of gunshot wounds while one child died of smoke inhalation, authorities said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report