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Temple University police officer fatally shot responding to a crime near campus

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro said was “bravely serving his community.”

A Temple University police officer was fatally shot responding to a crime near the campus in North Philadelphia on Saturday night, officials said.

The university's vice president of public safety, Jennifer Griffin, said it was the first line-of-duty death in the history of the campus police department, NBC Philadelphia reported.

The shooting was reported a few blocks west of campus after 7 p.m., Temple said in a statement.

It said the officer was shot trying to apprehend a person suspected of robbing a convenience store. The shooting happened several blocks from the store, the statement said.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw told reporters the officer was shot when he tried to intervene in a carjacking.

The officer was taken to Temple University Hospital, where he died, she said. He was later identified as Christopher Fitzgerald.

"Officer Fitzgerald gave his life protecting the Temple community and we are forever indebted to him," the Temple University Police Association said. "He valiantly served the temple community and the people of Philadelphia."

Temple police said a suspect was arrested custody Sunday morning. Robert Clark, the supervisory deputy U.S. marshal for Eastern Pennsylvania, told NBC Philadelphia that the suspect was arrested with Fitzgerald's handcuffs as part of a "tradition."

"We felt it was important to remember Officer Fitzgerald by once again placing his cuffs on the suspect,” Clark said.

The suspect was identified by Philadelphia police Sunday night as Miles Pfeffer, 18, of nearby Buckingham Township. He was booked based on allegations that include murder of a law enforcement officer, evading arrest, firearms violations, robbery, carjacking, theft, and receiving stolen property.

It wasn't immediately clear if he has retained legal representation. The Defender Association of Philadelphia, a nonprofit group that serves as the city's public defender's office, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

University President Jason Wingard said in a statement, issued before he was identified, that the officer was a victim of “senseless gun violence.”

“There are simply no words that can make sense of this tragedy,” Wingard said. “It tears at our sense of community and safety.”

Gov. Josh Shapiro tweeted that he and first lady Lori Shapiro were "devastated" for the family of the officer, who was killed while "bravely serving his community."

 "May his memory be a blessing," Shapiro said.