Cain turned to Warner and said, “Give me the gun.” Warner handed it to him.
Outside, Widing watched with wide eyes. The Jeep’s front-seat passenger seemed to be pulling off a Muslim woman’s covering. The passenger’s door opened, and Howard Cain stepped out with one foot. He pivoted and placed the SKS semi-automatic over the top of the car.
Dicksy Widing screamed so loud that people two blocks away heard her wail.
Cain turned in her direction, and pointed the rifle at her. He squeezed the trigger, but nothing happened. His gun jammed.
While Widing watched, the man climbed back inside the Jeep and sped past her. Just then, 20-year-old neighbor Eric Krajewski emerged onto the street, having heard the shots and screams. He saw a police car idling near the intersection, with its door open. But where was its driver? He saw Widing standing in shock, pointing at the car.
Krajewski ran to it and saw Liczbinski lying on the ground. One bullet had ricocheted off his hip and eviscerated him. Another had more or less amputated his arm. Blood flowed everywhere. Other neighbors ran to get towels while Krajewski cradled the policeman’s head. Someone had literally blown him apart.
Liczbinski looked up at him. “Tell my wife and kids I love them,” he said.
A FEW SECONDS later, around a corner, Eric Floyd parked the Jeep, and the three men piled into their second getaway car, a Chrysler Town & Country minivan.
They made it a short distance before another police car found them. They tried to bail out of the van; Warner and Floyd ran, but Cain stayed and grabbed the assault rifle. He turned and fired at the police — still jammed. The officers, in turn, shot and killed Cain.
Warner escaped on foot, but a short time later — in a bold attempt to double back to normalcy — he flagged down a police car and said he’d like to report a stolen vehicle. A Chrysler Town & Country minivan.
In coming days, police launched an enormous manhunt for Eric Floyd, determined to arrest him before their colleague’s funeral. They acted on numerous tips, raiding buildings across the city in the search for the fugitive. A day before the funeral, a police squad found him in an abandoned building where for days Floyd and his girlfriend had smoked crack cocaine, used a bucket as a toilet, and waited.
When police found Floyd, they held him for an hour while they waited for one particular piece of law enforcement equipment: In Philadelphia, when a policeman is killed in the line of duty, his colleagues use his handcuffs to arrest the suspect. Finally, Liczbinski’s good friend, Sergeant Tim Simpson, arrived and snapped the hardware onto Floyd’s wrists.
It’s not a tradition anyone had considered for a long time. A decade had gone by since a Philadelphia police officer had been killed in the line of duty, in a violent way. But in 2008 alone, four were killed, including two shot to death.