Source AP ©

Killing of police officers in Philadelphia becomes regular tendency

A Philadelphia police officer was being robbed and was shot in the head, becoming the third officer in four days to be wounded in a city grappling with increasing gun violence.

The 54-year-old officer, Charles Cassidy, was checking on a Dunkin' Donuts shop around 10 a.m., Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson said. The robber shot him in the head almost immediately after the officer walked in, and he was taken to a hospital where he had surgery and remained in "extremely critical" condition, said Alexis Moore, a spokeswoman for Albert Einstein Medical Center.

Police were searching the area for he robber, who fled the shop with the officer's gun. More than a dozen schools were locked down.

Philadelphia has faced an uptick of gun violence recently, with more than 400 people murdered in the city in the last year - the highest total in nearly a decade. This year's pace is nearly identical. The vast majority of the murders are committed with guns.

Wednesday's shooting came about 12 hours after a masked gunman shot another officer in the shoulder during a downtown chase. The officer was in fair condition Wednesday.

The gunman in that shooting apparently jumped into the Schuylkill River, where searchers later recovered a body. Police said Wednesday morning that they had not determined if it was the suspect's body.

Early Sunday, an officer responding to a melee at a West Philadelphia nightclub was shot in the ankle. More than two dozen bullets were fired, police said. One suspect was fatally shot and another was arrested.