Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Police Say Rambling Note Found On Body Of Philadelphia Shooting Suspect

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross addresses media at a press conference in January.
Mark Makela
Getty Images
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross addresses media at a press conference in January.

Philadelphia police have found a rambling, threatening note on the body of a deceased man suspected of carrying out a shooting rampage on Friday night.

The suspect first opened fire at a police officer in a vehicle before shooting into a bar and then at a civilian car, as Police Commissioner Richard Ross told reporters Saturday afternoon. Then police exchanged fire with the suspect in a nearby alley, ultimately killing him. One female civilian was killed, and two officers and three civilians were injured during the shooting spree.

The letter on the suspect's body was "tantamount to rambling," according to Ross. It "references issues he had with a probation officer, not being particularly fond of the police department, but a lot of talk in the first person about himself, and just what he does and doesn't do, and issues he has with a whole bunch of other things."

He added that "obviously he was hell-bent on hurting a lot of people — we still aren't absolutely clear as to why." Ross said there is no reason to believe the suspect was "radicalized" after searching multiple addresses linked to him.

The letter was enclosed in an envelope titled "Doomed" – which Ross suggests could be a reference to "anybody who was going to be in his path last night."

Ross identified the suspect as Nicholas Glenn, who is believed to be 25 but has several possible dates of birth. He was "well-known to the police department," according to Ross. He described how the attack unfolded:

"This individual actually fired at [Sgt. Sylvia Young], at close range, 18 times. 18 times with a 9mm Ruger. And most of those rounds did enter her vehicle. She was struck quite a few times. Fortunately, at least one or two were lodged in her ballistic vest. She took some rounds to the arm. He actually struck her service weapon twice and pretty much disabled it, where there were rounds of hers on the floor of the vehicle, so I don't know if she would be able to return fire if she had to."

Then, the suspect fired five times into a bar, "hitting a security guard in the leg, then grabbed a woman and used her as a shield before shooting her in the leg," according to member station WHYY. He then opened fire into a vehicle, killing a 25-year-old female, Ross said.

Police then cornered the suspect in an alley, where he was killed. As WHYY reported, a University of Pennsylvania police officer was wounded in the exchange of fire.

"It's just one of those things that's surreal. You can't get your brain around it. So many people harmed in one incident," Ross added.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Merrit Kennedy is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers a broad range of issues, from the latest developments out of the Middle East to science research news.