- Texas Deputy Killed in Collision with Intoxicated Driver
- ODMP: South Carolina Officer Dies of Smoke Inhalation from Earlier Fire
- FBI Hostage Rescue Team Agents Killed in Training Exercise
- Phoenix Police Officer Dies in Fatal Hit-and-Run
- Metro-Washington Airport Officer Shot and Killed by Wife
- New York Student Killed During Shooting between Intruder and Police
- College Student, Intruder Killed in New York Break-In
PHILADELPHIA -- With more than a hundred tips coming in and a reward that has swelled to $150,000, investigators searching for the third suspect in the weekend murder of Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski pressed on yesterday to meet a self-imposed deadline of capturing the fugitive before their comrade's burial.
Inside the homicide unit at Police Headquarters, detectives backed by federal investigators expressed hope that they would apprehend Eric DeShann Floyd, 33, before Liczbinski's funeral on Friday.
In at least one raid in recent days, police believed they were close to grabbing Floyd, who escaped from a halfway house in Lancaster County in February. They believe Floyd knows he cannot stay in one place too long.
"It's like he's a ghost," Homicide Sgt. Robert Wilkins said. "This is a guy who is used to hiding."
Liczbinski, a 12-year veteran and a married father of three, was killed Saturday in Port Richmond while pursuing three bank-robbery suspects: Floyd; Levon T. Warner, 39, who is in custody; and Howard Cain, 34, who was killed by police closing in to arrest him that day.
Liczbinski, the youngest of nine siblings, would have turned 40 yesterday. His family released birthday balloons at the impromptu memorial site of flowers and offerings that has developed at Schiller and Almond Streets, where the sergeant was gunned down by a man holding a Chinese-made SKS carbine.
Throughout yesterday, members of the Fugitive Task Force huddled at Police Headquarters to pore over the tips that have come in. They were joined by an FBI supervising agent and an official from the U.S. Marshal's Office.
Investigators were interviewing anyone, including relatives, friends and associates, who may know Floyd's whereabouts. Detectives have questioned Floyd's mother, grandmother and sister. Authorities have raided more than a dozen homes throughout the city. Police said Floyd was running out of friends.
"He's too hot right now," Wilkins said. "No one wants to help him."
Still, officers doggedly pursuing the tips know that they have a difficult task.
"We don't know whether he's in Philadelphia, outside Philadelphia," Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said. "A lot of time now has elapsed, so he could be anywhere."
"You can't get too excited about each and every one," Deputy Commissioner Richard J. Ross Jr. said. "When you start to get a little excited is when you get more than one that matches, more than one of the same kind of tip."
Meanwhile, the department has begun to show signs of stress.
Ramsey launched an internal investigation after a Fox29 news helicopter videotaped police officers kicking and beating three suspects in an unrelated shooting Monday night. Ramsey ordered officers to limit their shifts to no more than 12 hours.
Ramsey said patrol officers and detectives should recognize the signs of stress.
"People need to get rest, because you do start to get burned out after a period of time. You can only stay focused for so long, and that can present a problem for us," he said.
Liczbinski was apparently not wearing his department-issued body armor when he was shot, but police say the Kevlar vest would not have stopped the high-velocity bullets that killed him.
Ramsey said he was not eager to equip officers with military-style body armor, which contains heavy plates that he said were impractical for police work.
"I think we need to constantly explore ways in which we can enhance the protection of our officers as new technology develops," Ramsey said. "And as these vests get better and better, then we certainly will look to purchase them. I want to provide what protection I can for the officers."
Ramsey expressed caution about providing police with weaponry to match high-powered military rifles, such as the SKS used to kill Liczbinski, as District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham has suggested. Ramsey said a bigger gun would not have helped Liczbinski because the ambush had happened so quickly.
"We don't want to get ourselves into an arms race," he said. "I'm not inclined to do that at this point, arming everyone with an assault rifle."
Meanwhile, police yesterday arrested a Harrisburg-area man who they say had provided a stolen handgun used by one of the suspects in the bank robbery.
Police charged Levi Swigart, 19, of Duncannon, Perry County, with two felony theft counts, and he was expected to face federal weapons charges today.
Police said Swigart had stolen a .22-caliber revolver from his mother in February and traded it to one of the suspects for crack cocaine. The gun was recovered with disguises used and later ditched by the robbers Saturday, who hit a Bank of America branch inside the ShopRite on Aramingo Avenue.
The handgun had not been fired, said Tony Robbins, assistant special agent in charge of the Philadelphia field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
At the Liczbinski memorial site in Port Richmond, a steady pilgrimage of mourners paid respects and left flowers, prayers, poems and offerings.
Shane Montieth, 36, of Riverton, took his two sons, Andon, 4, and Mason, 2, who each clutched brown teddy bears. Andon said he had wanted to leave the bear for the slain sergeant.
"I didn't want him to be lonely," Andon said.
Services for Slain Officer
A viewing for Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski will be held at 6 p.m. tomorrow at the John F. Givnish Funeral Home, 10975 Academy Rd. in Northeast Philadelphia. Visitors who park at Archbishop Ryan High School, 11201 Academy Rd., can take a shuttle to the funeral home.
A second viewing will begin at 7:30 a.m. Friday at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul, 18th Street and the Parkway, where a Funeral Mass will be said at noon.
Burial will be in Resurrection Cemetery, 5201 Hulmeville Rd., Bensalem.
Memorial donations can be sent to the Stephen Liczbinski Family Memorial Trust Fund, 901 Arch St., Philadelphia 19107.
Also, Geno's Steaks, Ninth Street and Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia, has announced it will donate all the proceeds of sales from 10 a.m. tomorrow to 10 a.m. Friday.
Contact staff writer Andrew Maykuth at 215-854-2947 or email@example.com.
Copyright 2008 Philadelphia Newspapers, LLC