Whitemarsh, PA – An illegal immigrant accused of putting a gun to a police officer’s head and repeatedly pulling the trigger has been charged with attempted murder.
The incident occurred in the Lafayette Hill area at approximately 8 a.m. on Wednesday, after the Whitemarsh Township Police Department (WTPD) received a report that a man was going from vehicle to vehicle, checking for unlocked doors, the Norristown Patch reported.
An officer responded to the area and tried to make contact with 20-year-old Reynaldo Figueroa-Ardon, who immediately turned away and started walking off, according to prosecutors.
According to police, the officer told Figueroa-Ardon to stop, but he ignored him, the Norristown Patch reported.
When the officer jogged over to the suspect and asked him what he was doing, Figueroa-Ardon suddenly spun around and put a gun to the officer’s head, according to police.
The officer later told investigators he heard the gun click at least three times as the suspect repeatedly pulled the trigger, but the weapon didn’t fire, the Norristown Patch reported.
The officer went hands-on with the suspect, who allegedly tried to yank the officer’s gun from his holster during the brawl, WCAU reported.
The officer was able to subdue him while he waited for backup to arrive, police said.
“This police officer — who is a father, husband, son, brother and veteran — reacted quickly and used his training and experience to gain control of this very dangerous situation, thankfully, with the best possible outcome,” WTPD Chief Christopher Ward told the Norristown Patch.
Investigators later determined the Sig-Sauer handgun Figueroa-Ardon was carrying had been stolen from a vehicle in Worcester Township the night prior, according to KYW.
Police said the weapon’s magazine was loaded, but there was not a bullet in the chamber, WPVI reported.
Figueroa-Ardon was booked into the Montgomery County Correctional Facility, where he is being held on $3.5 million bail, according to the news outlet.
He has multiple prior arrests out of New Jersey for theft, criminal trespass, and burglary, according to KYW.
According to court documents, Figueroa-Ardon is in the U.S. illegally, KYW reported.
In addition to the attempted murder charge, he has also been charged with attempted aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer.
“For a police officer, even a routine call can turn deadly in moments,” Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said in a statement on Thursday, according to WPVI. “All of us in law enforcement are feeling very blessed right now that the defendant wasn’t able to rack a bullet into the chamber of the stolen gun before he pulled the trigger. Thankfully, the police officer went home to his family after this very dangerous incident.”
Figueroa-Ardon’s preliminary court hearing is scheduled for March 24, KYW reported.