Temple Univesrity
Items fill a makeshift memorial for Temple University Police Officer Christopher Fitzgerald, Feb. 23, 2023, in Philadelphia. On Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024, Miles Pfeffer of suburban Philadelphia waived his right to a preliminary hearing and is headed to trial on charges including murder and murder of a law enforcement officer in the Feb. 19, 2023, slaying of 31-year-old Fitzgerald. (Photo: AP/Matt Rourke/File)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A suburban Philadelphia man is headed to trial in the shooting death of a Temple University police officer 11 months ago near the north Philadelphia university’s campus.

The suspect, 19-year-old Miles Pfeffer of Buckingham Township, on Tuesday waived his right to a preliminary hearing on charges including murder and murder of a law enforcement officer in the Feb. 19 slaying of 31-year-old Officer Christopher Fitzgerald.

Authorities said the officer spotted three people dressed in black and wearing masks in an area where there had been a series of robberies and carjackings. He chased the trio, and after two of them hid he continued to pursue the third, police said.

Authorities allege that he caught up with Pfeffer and ordered him to the ground, and the two then struggled before Pfeffer pulled a handgun and fired six times. Prosecutors allege that Pfeffer then carjacked a vehicle nearby. He was arrested the next morning at his mother’s Bucks County home.

Pfeffer is charged with murder, criminal homicide of a law enforcement officer, disarming an officer, robbery, theft, evading arrest and weapons crimes. He also faces robbery, theft, terroristic threatening and other charges in the subsequent carjacking. The Defender Association of Philadelphia declined comment on the charges Tuesday.

Dozens of Temple university police officers attended the hearing. The university has said Fitzgerald was the first Temple University officer killed in the line of duty. A father of five children, he joined the school’s police force in October 2021.

Family members of the slain officer said outside the courtroom Tuesday that they wanted to see Pfeffer sentenced to death. His father, former Philadelphia police officer Joel Fitzgerald, said the case “meets every threshold of the death penalty,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

“What we’d like to see is this person to go through the pain that our son went through, to go through the suffering that our family is going through,” he said.

The slain officer’s widow, Marissa Fitzgerald, wearing her husband’s jacket, said she saw «no empathy, just an evil human being.”


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