Off-duty officer shot near his home "coming along fine"

Posted: March 04, 2014

Homicide detectives were searching for the gunman who shot and wounded an off-duty Philadelphia police officer early Sunday near his home in the city's Overbrook Park section, police said.

Robert Penn, 46, had just finished his shift when he parked his car in a rear driveway on the 7300 block of Brentwood Road about 12:10 a.m. After getting out of the car, he was approached by an unknown man, police said.

The man said something to the officer and then shot him once in the right shoulder, with the bullet exiting through the officer's back, police said.

Penn was rushed to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was listed in stable condition Sunday, police said. He is married to a Philadelphia police officer and has a 9-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son, according to Lt. John Stanford, a police spokesman.

"He's coming along fine. He just has to do some therapy," the officer's mother, Patricia Penn, said Sunday morning. "I am doing the best I can. I am praying a lot."

The shooting comes 19 months after a similar attack on a Philadelphia police officer who had just left work resulted in his death. Officer Moses Walker Jr., 40, a 19-year veteran of the force, was gunned down shortly before 6 a.m. on Aug. 18, 2012, four blocks from the 22d District station. He was walking to the bus stop after his shift.

Two men stopped him and announced a robbery, police said, and as Walker tried to draw his personal gun, he was shot in the chest, the stomach, and one arm. He died at Hahnemann University Hospital.

The suspects, Rafael Jones, 24, and Chancier McFarland, 20, face trial on murder charges.

Stanford said police had not determined a motive for Penn's shooting. It appeared that only one shot was fired, he said.

Penn is a 24-year veteran of the police force, assigned to the 16th District, which covers portions of West Philadelphia.

After firing at Penn, the gunman fled on foot, police said. He was described as 5 feet, 8 inches tall, wearing a black jacket, black pants, and black hat. It is standard policy for homicide detectives to get involved anytime a Philadelphia police officer is shot, Stanford said. Detectives will return to the 7300 block of Brentwood Road to speak with any witnesses and secure any available surveillance footage, he said.

By early Sunday afternoon, police had not yet conducted a full interview with Penn, Stanford said. "It is still early in the investigation," he said, adding that details such as the type of gun used in the shooting and whether Penn tried to draw an off-duty gun would become known as the investigation continues.

Anyone with information on the shooting is urged to contact the Philadelphia Police Department at 215-686-8477.

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