A Philly homeowner who didn’t hear a SWAT team knocking on his door shot police officer Jaison Potts in the face while “defending his home,” and was himself shot fatally on Monday, according to investigators.
“This is an all-out, absolute tragedy, all the way around,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross told media at a press conference on Monday, hours after Philly SWAT team officer Jaison Potts was shot while executing a ‘high-risk’ warrant on the 4800 block of Knox Street in Germantown for a 20-year-old suspect who was not found in the home.
The suspect who the warrant was issued for was wanted for weapons charges. He was the grandson of the couple in the home, which was listed as his address, Ross said. He turned himself into police on Monday after the shooting.
The shooting of Officer Jaison Potts
Potts, 49, a 20-year veteran of the department, is a married father of three. Potts is still listed in critical condition and was due for surgery Tuesday to have a bullet removed from his jaw and faces a long road to recovery.
The 59-year-old homeowner who shot Potts, who had not been identified as of press-time, died after Potts’ partner returned fire.
“It appears that he was defending his home, and that tragically he just didn’t hear that police announcement,” Ross said.
His wife, 67, the mother-in-law of a Philly cop, was also injured by what Ross said may have been a ricocheting fragment of a shotgun shell fired by police.
While details are still murky, police say the SWAT team was serving a warrant at the Germantown home around 6:06 a.m.
Ross said that the police knocked on the door and announced themselves at least three times, which neighbors said they heard. But Ross said the homeowner is believed to have been watching TV and not heard police. Some reports say he had hearing problems.
After a police opened a door to an outdoor patio, as they got to the second door, Potts was shot in the face, taking a bullet to the jaw. They never got inside the home, and Ross said bullets that hit Potts were fired through a wooden frame.
“It appears at this point that the homeowner thought someone was breaking in his home,” Ross said. “He instructed his wife to flee out the back … and he, I guess, went about the business of protecting his home, not knowing it was police at the door that he was firing upon.”
Potts’ partner returned fire, striking the homeowner in the chest. The homeowner was later pronounced dead at Albert Einstein Medical Center. His wife was in stable condition at Albert Einstein.
SWAT typically serves 300 high-risk warrants a year, with the last time shots were even fired during the execution of such a warrant being in 2015.
The incident remains under investigation.