PHILADELPHIA -- Daniel Giddings warned he would not go back to prison and swore to take down any police officer who got in his way, a top Philadelphia police commander said yesterday.
"He was going to kill as many cops as he could," Homicide Capt. James Clark said. "He was just evil."
The 27-year-old convicted felon and fugitive made that promise during a confrontation with police last month, just days after he was released from prison, police said, and that chilling prediction culminated in the Tuesday afternoon murder of Highway Patrol Officer Patrick McDonald, 30, in North Philadelphia.
As the city and its Police Department reeled from the killing of the fourth officer in less than a year, Mayor Nutter vowed investigators would leave no stone unturned in a hunt for anyone who may have harbored Giddings, who wounded another officer, Richard Bowes, 36, before Bowes shot and killed him.
Yesterday, police questioned and released the woman who drove the car that McDonald pulled over minutes before he was gunned down by Giddings, a passenger. Police said that she had cooperated with investigators and that they did not expect to file charges against her.
With Nutter at his side at a news conference, Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey called the rash of assaults on police unprecedented.
"I've never seen, in such a short period of time, this many officers who died violently, assassinated, on the streets of any city," said Ramsey, whose career stretches over more than four decades. "These are assassinations."
Said Nutter, his voice rising: "If you help a criminal, you are a criminal, and we're coming after you, too." He said authorities would aggressively prosecute those who "harbor, aid, abet, provide assistance, or frustrate us in our efforts to track down a wanted fugitive."
Police said they expected to bring charges against a South Carolina man who purchased the murder weapon and several other guns in what appeared to be a straw purchase. One of those guns was used during an earlier robbery in Philadelphia, police said.
Homicide detectives questioned the driver of the car in which Giddings was riding. They identified her as Chanel Howard, 27, of West Philadelphia, whom McDonald had pulled over in the 2200 block of North 17th Street for a routine traffic stop because her 1995 Buick had a broken taillight.
McDonald had Howard step out of the car as she turned over her license, and he then asked the passenger his name. Clark said that Giddings gave a false name and that when McDonald asked him to get out of the car, Giddings slid across the front seat and bolted out the driver's-side door.
McDonald gave chase west on Dauphin Street, south on Bouvier Street, west on Susquehanna Avenue, and to the 2200 block of Colorado Street, where he caught up to Giddings.
"At that time, Mr. Giddings pulled out a .45-caliber semiautomatic, shooting the officer, striking him several times," Clark said. "The officer went down, and then he stood over him and executed him, shooting him several more times."
Giddings seized a bicycle from a passerby and headed north on Colorado Street, where he was confronted by three officers on motorcycles on their way to assist McDonald, Clark said.
The first officer rode his motorcycle directly to McDonald, who lay bleeding. Giddings threw the stolen bicycle at another officer, knocking him off his motorcycle. Giddings then fired several shots at Bowes, striking him in the leg and knocking him to the ground.
Bowes got up, Clark said, and as Giddings still kept firing, Bowes unloaded six shots. The injured Giddings ran back to North 17th Street, where he died.
Howard did not know about the shooting until she got home and saw it on the news, said her Center City attorney, Thomas Bello, a former prosecutor.
"She feels as badly as everyone else about what happened and is shocked," Bello said. He said that the two started dating two weeks ago after meeting in a club on Delaware Avenue.
"She said he seemed like the nicest man in the world," Bello said, adding that Howard said she had no idea that Giddings had recently been in prison, was wanted on a warrant, or was carrying a gun.
District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham, meanwhile, ruled that Bowes' use of lethal force was justified and that no charges would be filed against him.
Chief Inspector Richard Bullick, who oversees field operations, including Highway Patrol, went to Temple University Hospital yesterday to visit with Bowes and his family.
"He's in real good spirits," Bullick said of the officer, whose wife and other relatives were at his bedside. "He can't wait to get out."
Services Set for Slain Officer
Funeral services for Officer Patrick McDonald will be at noon Tuesday at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul at 18th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, with Cardinal Justin Rigali presiding. Public viewings will be at 6 p.m. Monday at John F. Givnish Funeral Home, 10975 Academy Rd., Philadelphia, and 7:30 a.m. Tuesday at the cathedral.