Burns: Capitol shooting spree against Harrisburg police just before Christmas proves need for Blue Lives Matter legislation
HARRISBURG, Dec. 23 -- In the wake of a shooting spree that targeted police on the cusp of Christmas outside the state Capitol and left a female state trooper wounded by gunfire, state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, is imploring his legislative colleagues -- particularly Republicans who control the flow of legislation -- to act on his bill to make attacks on law enforcement a hate crime.
Burns said that with the Dauphin County district attorney saying 51-year-old Ahmed Aminamin El-Mofty directly targeted police -- including shooting at a police car before himself being shot and killed by police -- it's time for everyone to get serious about doing more to protect those who protect the rest of us.
"El-Mofty started his shooting spree at 4 p.m. just outside the state Capitol grounds, and did so by brazenly firing bullets into a police cruiser," Burns said. "If that doesn't get the attention of everyone in the General Assembly, I don't know what will. I implore all of my colleagues to finally get the message and help me do something to reverse this trend. In fact, I'm begging them at this point."
Burns, who formed and became chairman of the Blue Lives Matter caucus nearly a year ago, is the prime sponsor of H.B. 158, which would make assaulting a police officer a hate crime, resulting in a one-degree increase in the criminal penalty. He has also sponsored separate legislation, H.B. 1857, which would stiffen the penalty for fleeing or eluding police, especially in cases where an officer or member of the public is killed or seriously injured.
Burns said yesterday's incident that terrorized Harrisburg involved El-Mofty, who is reported to have ties to the Middle East, moving into a residential neighborhood, where he brandished two handguns and wounded the state trooper before himself being gunned down.
"I commend the bravery and performance of the Pennsylvania State Police and Harrisburg Police Department, who sprang into action and took out this bad guy before he could take out them or anyone else," Burns said. "This incident is proof positive that the job of being a police officer is more dangerous than ever, and it should serve as a reminder to everyone -- and I mean everyone -- that Blue Lives Matter."