A Northamption Township police officer acted properly when he exchanged gunfire and killed an armed man who earlier had murdered his former wife, Bucks County authorities announced Friday.

Northampton Township Officer Timothy Friel was trapped in his seatbelt when he returned fire with his non-shooting hand and killing Kenneth Philipp, who had earlier fatally wounded his ex-wife. Friel received minor injuries in the April 18th exchange.

Friel "stood fast, he did not retreat around the car, he sheltered and returned fire," said District Attorney David Heckler. He said Friel's quick actions ended the threat to his life and the public. "He should be commended."

Philipp, 50, had earlier fired a 12-gauge shotgun point-blank into a car driven by his ex-wife Violeta Isackov, who was with her 16-year-old daughter. The mother and daughter had just arrived at a Lower Southampton dress shop for a fitting. Isackov was to be remarried that weekend.

The daughter received minor injuries to her hands.

Philipp left the scene and was spotted by Friel, a 10-year veteran, who pulled over Philipp's Lincoln Town Car. Philipp got out of the car and fired his shotgun hitting the Friel, who returned fire and killed him. The officer, who was wearing a protective vest, was not seriously injured.

Isackov had an active protection-from-abuse order against Philipp who had a long history of hostile behavior. Police had recently removed three other guns from his home.

The gun used by Philipp in the incident was legally purchased by his father in 1981.

In 2005, Philip pleaded guilty to threatening his first wife's lawyer. H was arrested in November for bringing a knife into Isakov's home.

Philipps attorney had said earlier his marriage to Isakov was annulled after it was discovered she was still married to a previous husband.

Contact staff writer Mari A. Schaefer at 610-313-8111, mschaefer@phillynews.com or @MariSchaefer on Twitter