A Philadelphia police officer recalled in court Tuesday the morning last fall when he was shot after he had spotted a man with a gun on a Kensington street. Afterward Municipal Court Judge William Austin Meehan Jr. ordered the alleged gunman held for trial on charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault, and gun offenses.
Officer Paul Sulock said he and his partner were in a patrol car about 11 a.m. Nov. 7 when he saw Jerome Hill with a gun in his hand, crouching between parked vehicles on G Street, near Hilton, then getting up and walking backward. Hill was with another man, James Gauthney, Sulock testified at Hill’s preliminary hearing.
Sulock stopped his car at G and Madison Streets and he and his partner got out. Hill initially didn’t see the officers, but swung around and began “firing at my direction,” testified Sulock, who said he and his partner fired back.
Sulock recalled feeling a “burn” in his right thigh, where he said Hill shot him.
Sulock, 31, testified that he chased Gauthney while his partner, Officer John O’Hanlon, chased Hill.
Sulock caught up with Gauthney, then was taken to Temple University Hospital to be treated for his wounds. He was released the next day, returned to work in early March, and now is assigned to Highway Patrol.
During testimony by Police Detective Thorsten Lucke, Assistant District Attorney Shuaiyb Newton showed video clips from businesses and a residence near G Street. The footage does not show the shooting of Sulock, but shows Hill firing in the officers’ direction. As Hill runs south on G, he drops his gun, and O’Hanlon picks it up and chases him.
Under questioning by defense attorney Edwin Rivera, Sulock estimated that Hill was 10 or 15 feet away from him when he fired at the officers.
The judge also ordered Hill, 29, of Olney, held for trial on attempted murder and related offenses in relation to O’Hanlon.
Gauthney, then 19, of East Germantown, originally was arrested and charged with hindering Hill’s apprehension, obstructing justice, and unsworn falsification to authorities. He had faced an April 16 preliminary hearing before another judge, but prosecutors that day dropped the charges against him.
Ben Waxman, District Attorney Larry Krasner’s spokesperson, said by email Tuesday: “We conducted a thorough investigation and concluded that we could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt in court that Mr. Gauthney was guilty of the charges brought by our office in the case.” He declined to explain why Gauthney originally had been charged.
Gauthney remains in custody in an unrelated case from a February 2018 arrest. He pleaded guilty in March 2019 to felony drug-related charges and was sentenced to 11½ to 23 months in jail.
In 2009, Hill pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated assault and carrying a firearm in public. He was given credit for time served and sentenced to five years’ probation.
He violated his probation in 2011 when he was arrested again on gun charges. He pleaded guilty the next year to gun-possession charges and was sentenced to four to eight years in prison.