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Teen Accused Of Murdering Temple University Cop Had Called In Bomb, Gun Threats To Local High School

Bucks County, PA – The gunman accused of executing a Temple University police officer who was trying to arrest him in connection with an alleged robbery last weekend was previously arrested for calling in anonymous bomb threats to a local high school, according to investigators.

Miles Pfeffer, 18, is currently facing charges of murder, carjacking, murder of a law enforcement officer, and weapons-related offenses for the brutal shooting death of 31-year-old Temple University Police Department (TUPD) Officer Christopher “Chris” Fitzgerald.

Police say Officer Fitzgerald was trying to apprehend Pfeffer on Feb. 18 for a convenience store robbery when Pfeffer allegedly shot him in the head after a foot pursuit, FOX News reported.

The gunman then allegedly stood over the fallen officer and fired multiple additional rounds into his head and face before carjacking another victim and fleeing the scene, investigators said.

According to police records, Pfeffer was one of three suspects arrested in connection with a Nov. 16, 2021 bomb threat at Central Bucks High School South, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Warrington Township police said the suspects used the state-operated Safe2Say online reporting tool to notify officials that a homemade pipe bomb was going to be detonated inside a school bathroom, according to the news outlet.

The suspects also made a second report claiming a student was planning to bring a gun to school, law enforcement sources told The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The high school went on lockdown and police swept the building for explosive devices and weapons, but nothing was found.

Investigators used cell phone data to track down the three suspects, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

One of the suspects was arrested just days after the incident, but Pfeffer and his other accomplice weren’t charged until February of last year.

Pfeffer received a one-month probation sentence after being adjudicated delinquent in juvenile court in connection with the threats, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

He had no other major contact with Bucks County law enforcement with the exception of his juvenile arrest, according to the paper.

Pfeffer was a student in the Central Buck School District until 2019, the Doylestown Patch reported.

He has been enrolled at the Middle Bucks Institute of Technology since September of 2020.

Pfeffer was arrested at his family’s 15-acre property, Boxley Farm, in the wake of Officer Fitzgerald’s murder, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

He was remanded to the Philadelphia Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility after his arraignment in Philadelphia on Monday, according to the Doylestown Patch.

Officer Fitzgerald responded to the area of Montgomery Avenue and 17th Street at approximately 7 p.m. on Feb. 18 after receiving a report of a robbery that occurred at a nearby convenience store, WCAU reported.

Investigators said the one officer attempted to stop three individuals in the 1700-block of West Montgomery Avenue, but that they all took off running, according to the Doylestown Patch.

Officer Fitzgerald sent a message over the police radio at 7:12 p.m. advising he was in a foot pursuit, and multiple officers began heading in his direction to assist.

But before they arrived, he ended up in a physical altercation with Pfeffer, who police said ignored the officer’s repeated commands, the Doylestown Patch reported.

After fatally wounding the young officer, Pfeffer allegedly rifled through the officer’s pockets and tried to steal his duty weapon, according to WPVI.

The shooting was captured on video.

Police said they found Officer Fitzgerald lying on the ground with multiple gunshot wounds to his face and torso.

The gunman had fled the scene.

Officer Fitzgerald was rushed to Temple University Hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds.

Investigators later located the stolen car in the area of Sedgley Avenue and 30th Street.

A multiagency team of law enforcement officers apprehended the alleged gunman in the 2300-block of Quarry Road in Buckingham Township at about 7:12 a.m. on Feb. 19, WPVI reported.

He was taken into custody using Officer Fitzgerald’s handcuffs.

“It’s a tradition that we do any time there’s a fallen officer, and we thought it was important to remember Officer Fitzgerald… by placing his cuffs on the suspect,” U.S. Marshal Supervisor Deputy Rob Clark told WPVI.

Sources said Pfeffer claimed he melted the firearm he used to murder Officer Fitzgerald, WPVI reported.

Police located a large burn pit on Pfeffer’s mother’s property in Bucks County during a search on Sunday, according to the news outlet.

Investigators said they seized multiple weapons from the family home, CBS News reported.

Pfeffer’s mother was also taken into custody for questioning, according to the news outlet.

Officer Fitzgerald’s murder marked the first line-of-duty shooting death in the history of the Temple University Police Department, WPVI reported.

The two-year department veteran is the son of former Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald, according to WFAA.

He leaves behind his wife, four children, and his parents.

The fallen hero’s children range in age from seven to 14, WCAU reported.

A fundraising campaign established to help Officer Fitzgerald’s family in the wake of his murder has raised more than $440,000 so far.

“Officer Fitzgerald gave his life to selflessly serve and defend this community,” Temple University said in a statement to WPVI. “The courage and bravery he displayed highlights the day-to-day sacrifice made by our Temple University Police Officers to keep our community safe.”

“This loss leaves an enormous hole in all of our hearts. He was a father, a husband, a son, a colleague, and a friend,” the university’s statement read. “There are simply no words that can make sense of such a tragedy. It tears at our sense of community, and wounds us to our very soul. Temple has lost an officer and hero to senseless violence. Our thoughts are with the victim’s family, friends and the entire Temple community during this tremendously difficult time.”

Officer Fitzgerald’s family said he was working an overtime shift when he was murdered, WCAU reported.

He will be laid to rest on Friday, according to the Doylestown Patch.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin


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