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Phila. police officer killed, another hurt; gunman dead

A Philadelphia police officer was killed and another officer was injured during a shootout this afternoon in North Philadelphia about three blocks from the Temple University campus. The suspected gunman was killed.

Philadelphia police officers stand at attention as the body of slain highway patrol officer Patrick McDonald is taken from the Temple Hospital emergency room on Tuesday. (Steven M. Falk / Daily News)
Philadelphia police officers stand at attention as the body of slain highway patrol officer Patrick McDonald is taken from the Temple Hospital emergency room on Tuesday. (Steven M. Falk / Daily News)Read more

A Philadelphia police officer was killed and another officer was injured during a shootout this afternoon in North Philadelphia about three blocks from the Temple University campus. The suspected gunman was killed.

Officer Patrick McDonald, 30, an eight-year veteran, was killed near 17th and Colorado Streets after calling for backup assistance at about 1:45 p.m., said Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey.

McDonald, who was single, was a member of the department's elite highway patrol unit.

Officers responding to McDonald's call encountered a suspect at 17th and Dauphin Streets and engaged in a gun battle, police said. Officer Richard Bowes, 36, a 12-year veteran who also a member of the highway patrol, was wounded in the leg.

The alleged gunman fell in the 2300 block of North 17th Street and was pronounced dead on the scene. A large-caliber handgun was recovered, police said.

The two officers were rushed to Temple University Hospital. Their family members also rushed to Temple along with top commanders from the police department and Mayor Nutter.

The officer was the third officer killed in the line of duty this year.

"I do not know what is going on in the minds of some of these individuals out here," Nutter said. "When they come upon a Philadelphia police officer, that somehow, they believe they can engage in gunfights with us.

There were conflicting accounts about what led to the shooting, and Deputy Commissioner Richard J. Ross Jr. said it was unclear. Police took several witnesses into custody.

McDonald was pronounced dead at 2:08 p.m. He was shot in the upper body, apparently above his protective Kevlar vest. The condition of Bowes was not immediately known; authorities say he was shot in the hip or leg.

McDonald was driving a patrol car, while Bowes and many of the responding officers rode motorcycles. The highway patrol has with a wide spectrum of responsiblities, including some drug investigations.

Since 2006, four other Philadelphia police officers have been killed in the line of duty.

Less than two weeks ago, police buried Officer Isabel Nazario, who was killed Sept. 5 when a suspect in a stolen car crashed into her vehicle during a pursuit.

On May 3, Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski was killed while pursuing three men sought for robbing a Bank of America branch inside a ShopRite in Port Richmond.

In November 2007, Officer Chuck Cassidy was killed as he interrupted a robbery at a West Oak Lane Dunkin' Donuts.

And in May 2006, Officer Gary Skerski was slain when he responded to a robbery at Pat's Cafe in Frankford.