Alleged Gunman, Cohort Arrested in Cop Shooting

The man who allegedly shot Officer James McCullough was locked up last month on gun charges.

Left: Officer James McCullough Middle: Scott Griffin Right: Samir Coyett

Left: Officer James McCullough Middle: Scott Griffin Right: Samir Coyett

Scott Griffin is behind bars — again.

The 23-year-old, whom authorities say shot Officer James McCullough on Sunday night, was arrested earlier today by undercover narcotics cops in West Philadelphia, and charged with attempted murder, robbery and related offenses. 

Griffin was less than a week removed from having caught a big legal break. He was arrested last month on a handful of gun charges, and held on $150,000 bail at the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center in Northeast Philly. But the charges were dismissed for lack of of evidence on April 12th, according to court records. The following day, the District Attorney’s Office indicated that it planned to re-file the charges.

Homicide Capt. James Clark said Griffin had 14 prior arrests. That tally includes a 2011 conviction on charges of possessing a firearm with an altered serial number and firearms not to be carried without a license, which carried a prison sentence of one to three years.

On Sunday night, Clark said, Griffin and a cohort, Samir Coyett, robbed a man at gunpoint near 59th and Market, and then tried to carjack a woman on nearby Salford Street. The woman flagged down McCullough and his partner, who were on routine patrol.

McCullough struggled with the suspects after they jumped out of the woman’s car. Griffin allegedly turned and fired at McCullough, hitting him once in the leg. The 24-year-old cop returned fire several times, but did not appear to hit anyone. McCullough is listed in stable condition at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center.

Coyett, 20, was unarmed. He attempted to flee, but ended up running right into the clutches of the man that he and Griffin had robbed earlier in the evening. The robbery victim and his friends jumped on Coyett, and held him at the scene until police arrived. He was charged with attempted murder, robbery and related offenses.

“We get a lot more help out there than people suggest,” said Police Commissioner Richard Ross. “I’m very guarded about … saying the problem is people don’t step up, because there are so many people who help us out there every day. We have to applaud them as well, because without them, we’re not going to get it done.”

Griffin escaped from the scene of the shooting, but Clark said investigators received a tip about where they could find him today. The narcotics officers spotted him on Alden Street near Girard Avenue. Griffin was armed with a handgun, but was taken into custody without incident.

“He’s a dangerous individual, obviously,” Clark said. “We’re very happy to get him off the streets as quickly as we did.”

Ross said McCullough was “exhausted” but is expected to recover. The commissioner referenced the criticism police officers continue to face from protestors and activists across the country as he discussed McCullough and Officer Jesse Hartnett, a fellow 18th District cop who was shot in West Philly in January.

“It can be a very dangerous job. This is why instead of casting aspersions on a whole lot of people and the entire profession, many [cops] should be applauded for the heroes they are,” Ross said. “We have issues that we have to contend with in this profession that we’re willing to deal with. But the fact that people will go out there and just start castigating an entire group of professional people is just unacceptable.”

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