A patrol cop in the 15th Police District narrowly escaped catastrophic injury as a gunman wounded him in the head during a shootout on a Tacony street corner early Tuesday that left the suspect dead.
Officer Stephen Korpalski, 34, was released from Albert Einstein Medical Center hours after the 12:44 a.m. shooting, having been treated for a graze wound of the left side of his head. He is recovering at home, according to a Philadelphia Police Department statement.
The alleged instigator of the gunfire, David Ellis, 29, of the 2600 block of Bouvier St., wasn’t so lucky. Korpalski, his partner and other arriving officers fired at Ellis, wounding him fatally. Ellis was taken to Aria Health-Torresdale and pronounced dead at 1:35 a.m. No other injuries were reported.
The episode began when police radio broadcast a report of a person with a gun on the 6400 block of Ditman St. While on patrol in a marked tactical wagon, Korpalski and his partner heard the description of the suspect and responded to the scene. En route, they spotted a man matching the description on foot at Torresdale and Magee avenues, about three blocks from the Ditman Street location.
When Korpalski and his partner attempted to stop Ellis, he fired a gun at them, police said. The bullet grazed Korpalski’s head, but he and other officers managed to return fire, striking Ellis multiple times. At least one bullet reportedly struck a police van, while others struck the nearby Brooks Pharmacy. Police did not disclose how many rounds Ellis may have fired. Investigators recovered Ellis’ alleged weapon at the scene.
Korpalski is a 14-year veteran of the police department and a married father of a 3-week-old daughter. The department did not disclose his place of residence. ••