Man who shot three cops gets life in prison

Al­most three years after two Phil­adelphia SWAT of­ficers stared death in the face in­side the base­ment of an Ox­ford Circle row home, a city judge threw the book at the gun­man who al­most took their lives.

Not only did Na­suil “Nas” Mar­tinez shoot two cops with a .45-caliber pis­tol at point-blank range on Dec. 22, 2010, Mar­tinez killed a man one day earli­er and wounded a third cop 11 days be­fore that.

Last Wed­nes­day, Com­mon Pleas Court Judge Glenn B. Bron­son found Mar­tinez guilty of first-de­gree murder in the slay­ing as well as nu­mer­ous oth­er charges re­lated to the two oth­er shoot­ings. Mar­tinez, 23, of Kens­ing­ton, will be sen­tenced to life in pris­on without pa­role on Feb. 14. Mar­tinez has been be­hind bars since his ar­rest fol­low­ing a three-hour show­down with po­lice on the 800 block of Sanger St., dur­ing which he shot Sgt. Chris­toph­er Binns in the temple and Of­ficer Fran­cis Whalen in the heart. Both SWAT mem­bers sur­vived thanks to bal­list­ic gear, in­clud­ing a Kevlar-coated hel­met and a flak vest with a ceram­ic “trauma plate” in­ser­tion.

Neither of­ficer was in­jured ser­i­ously, but the slugs left start­ling in­dent­a­tions in their gear.

“Ob­vi­ously, it’s noth­ing short of mi­ra­cu­lous that the of­ficers are here with us today,” Deputy Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Richard Ross said soon after the epis­ode. “Had they been patrol of­ficers, we could be plan­ning their fu­ner­als today.”

SWAT went to the house in search of Mar­tinez after re­ceiv­ing tips that he was holed up there. Binns and Whalen entered the base­ment and opened a door. Mar­tinez opened fire on them. The of­ficers re­turned fire while re­treat­ing. They wounded Mar­tinez in the shoulder.

After a couple of hours of ne­go­ti­ation, Mar­tinez in­dic­ated to po­lice that he would sur­render. Just then, po­lice heard an­oth­er gun­shot. Mar­tinez had shot him­self ac­ci­dent­ally in the neck, but sur­vived.

At the time, Mar­tinez was wanted in con­nec­tion with the Dec. 10, 2010, wound­ing of of­ficer Kev­in Gor­man of the 25th dis­trict fol­low­ing a car stop and foot chase. In that in­cid­ent, Gor­man was in­vest­ig­at­ing sus­pec­ted drag ra­cing when he stopped a car with four oc­cu­pants at 3300 N. Howard St.

Mar­tinez bolted from the vehicle, ran in­to an al­ley, hopped over a fence and fired at the pur­su­ing Gor­man, who suffered a graze wound of the shoulder. Gor­man was treated at an area hos­pit­al and re­leased hours later. Mar­tinez es­caped. 

With Mar­tinez in cus­tody after the Dec. 22, 2010, shootout, po­lice ob­tained pho­tos of him wear­ing dis­tinct­ive jew­elry that had been stolen dur­ing the Dec. 21, 2010, slay­ing of Car­los Fernan­dez dur­ing a home in­va­sion rob­bery. Au­thor­it­ies ad­ded murder charges against Mar­tinez.

Al­though Mar­tinez had no crim­in­al con­vic­tions pri­or to the three shoot­ings, he was well-known to po­lice. He had been ar­res­ted in Septem­ber 2010 in con­nec­tion with an ag­grav­ated as­sault and an un­re­lated drug case. He then skipped a bail hear­ing and be­came a wanted man. Be­fore that, he was ar­res­ted in March 2009 on as­sault and gun charges, but pro­sec­utors with­drew the case for un­spe­cified reas­ons. ••

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