An 18-year-old allegedly murdered a Temple University police officer this month. Officer Chris Fitzgerald is the first Temple University police officer killed in the line of duty as the university and city are seeing crime increase.
So many colleges and universities talk about safe spaces because they worry about what someone might say near them or how someone might look at them. All the time, they don’t realize that attitudes like that contribute to making their campuses a truly unsafe space. The campus police have worked to keep the real violence off campus, but it does intrude.
Earlier this month, Fitzgerald, who was a father and husband, tried to prevent a carjacking in North Philadelphia, according to Fox 29. He was in the area to investigate a convenience store robber and sought to detain a suspect. The suspect, 18-year-old Miles Pfeffer, attempted to carjack a vehicle and Fitzgerald intervened.
The two men struggled and Pfeffer knocked Fitzgerald to the ground and then reportedly shot him in the head. Following this, Pfeffer allegedly stood over Fitzgerald and fired additional shots into the police officer’s head, according to reports.
“Pfeffer then reportedly rummaged through Fitzgerald’s pockets and attempted to steal his service weapon before carjacking another individual,” the Daily Caller reported. “He threatened, “Give me the keys or I’ll kill you,” according to video surveillance footage cited in the affidavit.”
Paramedics rushed Fitzgerald to Temple University Hospital where he died.
“There are simply no words that can make sense of this tragedy. It tears at our sense of community and safety. We all mourn this unspeakable loss,” Temple University President Jason Wingard said in a statement.
Pfeffer was later arrested at his family’s farm. He has been charged with murder, homicide of a law enforcement officer, evading arrest, and related charges, according to police officials. He was also charged with theft by unlawful taking, theft-receiving stolen property, VUFA, and related charges in connection with a carjacking, according to Fox 29.
This is not the first run in with the law Pfeffer has had or the first time he made a campus unsafe. ABC6 reported that he had been charged “with terroristic threats related to a bomb threat at Central Bucks South High School in 2021” while he was still a juvenile.
Things like this and people like Pfeffer are the reason campuses aren’t safe, not because someone disagrees with a view another student or faculty member might hold.
Officer Fitzgerald was a man whose memory should be honored. He died trying to save someone’s life, and make no mistake, given how Pfeffer allegedly murdered the police officer, he would have not hesitated to kill the car’s driver.
Hopefully, Pfeffer will be convicted of murder. Unfortunately, the crime happened in Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has been so bad or so ineffective at his job that residents want to recall him.
And even if this alleged murderer is convicted and sentenced to death, it won’t happen, at least not with Pennsylvania’s new governor, Josh Shapiro, who has proudly stated he won’t sign any death warrants while he is in office.
If we want campuses and cities to be truly safe spaces, then we need to stop demonizing police and ignoring the actions of criminals like Pfeffer. We need to have prosecutors who prosecute criminals, rather than make excuses for them and release them.
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