The shooting Thursday night of a police officer in Kensington reverberated with some frightening similarities to the 2008 shooting of Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski.
Three men in a vehicle. A powerful weapon - more than one, in this case. A cop shot.
Luckily, in this instance, Officer Kevin Livewell, 30, is doing well and is expected to recover from the wound to his right leg.
Police yesterday displayed the types of deadly, "state-of-the-art" weapons - four assault-type rifles and four handguns - found in a white van and in the streets in the area of Water Street near Indiana Avenue, where Livewell was shot about 8:30 p.m.
They also asked for the public's help in finding the two men who fled the van. One was wearing a dark blue shirt and dark shorts, and the other a white tank top, said Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross. Both were described as Hispanic. Livewell's partner tackled a third man, the van's driver, who was being questioned yesterday by detectives. His identity has not yet been released.
Found in the van were two Bushmaster AR-15 .223-caliber rifles; a Taurus PT 24 .40-caliber pistol; a TEC-9 semiautomatic pistol; and a Glock 9mm pistol.
Ross said Livewell and his partner, both of the 24th District, were on duty when they stopped the van on Water Street based on a report of "men with guns." Livewell was standing on the sidewalk near the van and his partner - identified by a source as Officer Brian Issel - was closer to their patrol car when the men rushed out and "a gun battle ensues," Ross said.
The officers saw "two men firing from the passenger side" of the van, Ross said, indicating that "at least a minimum of four rounds" were fired, based on shell casings found at the scene.
The officers fired back, but it was not clear if they hit anyone.
The assailants fled north on Water Street onto Clearfield, where they discarded an AK-47 rifle, and then fled south back down an alley between Water and Swanson streets, where they hid an SKS rifle and a Glock, Ross said.
"These are very, very bad people," Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said. "To have this kind of armament indicates they were going to do harm to someone."
Lt. Vincent Testa, commanding officer of the Firearms Identification Unit, said that the guns displayed at yesterday's news conference were not the ones recovered at the scene. Those weapons were at the Crime Scene Unit being examined for fingerprint and DNA evidence.
He said it was not yet clear which weapon was used to shoot Livewell.
A spokesman for Kass Industrial Supply Corp., whose logo was printed on the van, told 6ABC that the VIN on the vehicle matched the number of a van that the company owned but that had been totaled. The spokesman said the license plate didn't match any in company records.
Ramsey said Livewell, a nine-year veteran and a married father of a 15-year-old daughter and an 8-month-old son, was in "good spirits" at Temple University Hospital and was expected to stay there over the weekend.
Also yesterday, John McNesby, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, announced a $5,000 reward from the FOP for the arrest of each of the fugitives.
Police asked anyone with information to call the homicide division at 215-686-3334.