Man charged in attack, robbery of off-duty police officer

charged off-duty police
Yusef Coleman is pictured.

Update: Police said late Tuesday that the man referred to as “Duke” has been arrested. Investigators are still looking for a male suspect and a female “person of interest,” the PPD said. 

Authorities have charged a man after an off-duty police officer was attacked and robbed of his personal gun Sunday morning in North Philadelphia.

Detectives continue to search for a second suspect – a man known as “Duke” whom the PPD accuses of instigating the altercation. Police said the officer’s 9mm Glock handgun was recovered Tuesday.

Yusef Coleman, 24, was apprehended hours after the incident in Kensington. Authorities released his name Tuesday and said he is being charged with assaulting a law enforcement officer, criminal conspiracy, robbery, firearm violations and other crimes.

The off-duty officer, who has not been publicly identified, fired a shot from Coleman’s gun during the melee that did not strike anyone, according to law enforcement. An extended magazine had fallen to the ground, leaving one round in the chamber, Deputy Police Commissioner Frank Vanore told reporters Monday afternoon.

Deputy Police Commissioner Frank Vanore speaks Wednesday, March 6, at SEPTA headquarters about recent homicides on or near buses.

“No one was injured, but he now knows that gun is empty,” Vanore added.

He said the officer finished an overnight shift and had changed into his civilian clothes before leaving the 22nd Police District station, located at 17th Street and Montgomery Avenue.

While driving home, at around 7 a.m., he noticed a small crowd and a black BMW blocking the intersection of Oxford Street and Ridge Avenue, according to Vanore. He said the officer waited about four minutes, through several traffic light cycles, before beeping his horn.

Northeast, Mass Shooting
Deputy Police Commissioner Frank Vanore speaks Wednesday, March 6, at SEPTA headquarters about recent homicides on or near buses.JACK TOMCZUK

A woman in the group got into an argument with the officer, and the suspect referred to as “Duke” began striking him in the face through the vehicle’s window, the PPD said. Vanore said the officer then exited his vehicle and identified himself as law enforcement.

Duke, investigators said, pulled out his own gun, and the officer briefly produced the Glock before returning the weapon to its holster, police said. That’s when Coleman allegedly got involved and put the officer in a headlock.

A struggle ensued, and when the magazine of Coleman’s gun hit the ground, the officer pointed the weapon away from the crowd and fired a shot, Vanore said. Police said Duke pointed his gun at the officer and ordered him to drop it. Multiple people converged on the officer, beating him and taking his gun, according to the PPD.

When an on-duty officer arrived, Coleman got into the BMW and drove away, striking the off-duty officer’s leg, according to police. The rest of the crowd, which was apparently assembled outside an after-hours club, dispersed when backup arrived at the scene.

The off-duty officer was hospitalized with injuries to his head and leg and has since been released. The PPD said the officer is a 42-year-old man with nine years on the force. Once he fully recovers, he will be placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal officer-involved shooting probe, which is standard department procedure when an officer fires a gun.

Vanore said investigators have surveillance footage of the exchange from a city-operated camera in the area, as well as from a body-worn camera belonging to the on-duty officer who first responded to the situation.

charged off-duty police
These surveillance images show men still wanted for questioning in connection with the incident.PROVIDED / PHILADELPHIA POLICE

Images of the suspects were initially distributed Sunday, and an officer recognized Coleman, Vanore added. Investigators used cameras to track him to G and Hilton streets, where he was arrested. Police also found the BMW and towed it away.

Three women – all in their 20s – who were present for the attack showed up to a police station later Sunday to provide statements, police said. Vanore told reporters Monday that they were not currently facing charges.

Coleman’s legal representation could not be identified Tuesday.

Anyone with information about the incident or Duke’s whereabouts is asked to call or text police at 215-686-TIPS (8477).