Slain Philadelphia Police Cpl. James O’Connor IV has been posthumously promoted to sergeant, Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said Wednesday, and his handcuffs were used to formally arrest the man accused of killing him inside a Frankford rowhouse last week.
Murder and related charges against Hassan Elliott, 21, were expected to be filed Wednesday, Outlaw and Lt. Jason Hendershot said at a news conference outside Police Headquarters. O’Connor and fellow SWAT officers were seeking to arrest Elliott on a murder warrant Friday when Elliott allegedly began firing a rifle through a closed door inside his apartment, fatally striking O’Connor in an arm and shoulder, police have said.
Outlaw delivered her remarks while surrounded by members of O’Connor’s family, nearly all of whom work in law enforcement. O’Connor’s father was a Philadelphia police officer for four decades, his son serves in the city’s Sixth District, his daughter-in-law serves in the 35th District, and his daughter is a military police officer in the Air Force, said Staff Inspector Sekou Kinebrew, a police spokesperson.
Outlaw said O’Connor “is and will always be a hero in every sense of the word.”
“Even though a lot of us here are still continuing on, we do that to make sure that we continue to pay our respects and honor the ultimate sacrifice that was paid by our colleague,” she said.
Hendershot said Elliott — who has been in custody since Friday’s shooting — was formally arrested for O’Connor’s killing Wednesday by his arms being placed into O’Connor’s handcuffs. He was expected to be arraigned on the new charges and related counts later Wednesday, according to Hendershot.
Authorities have said Elliott and three other men were holed up in a bedroom in a second-floor apartment on the 1600 block of Bridge Street when O’Connor and other officers arrived before dawn to arrest Elliott on a warrant in a March 2019 homicide.
Elliott began firing through the door as O’Connor climbed the stairs, police have said. One officer returned fire, striking an associate of Elliott’s, Khalif Sears, and another man in a different bedroom.
Six occupants of the apartment were taken into custody, although prosecutors said Tuesday that they were primarily investigating Elliott and the three men in the bedroom with him: Sears, 18; Bilal Mitchell, 19; and Sherman Easterling, 24.
All were in custody, although Elliott is the only person so far facing charges in O’Connor’s death.
“This investigation is far from over,” Hendershot said. “We’re not done.”
O’Connor’s relatives did not speak at the news conference. His funeral has been postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.