It only took minutes between Kenneth Philipp exiting his car the evening of April 18 and firing three shells from his shotgun and Northampton police officer Timothy Friel to empty his 18-round clip and kill Philipp with three shots, two to his head and one to the shoulder.
During a press conference held Friday morning at the Lower Southampton Police Department, Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler said Friel's actions in those two minutes were completely justified and Friel should be commended.
The shootout occurred when Friel pulled over Philipp's car that matched an APB dispatched after Philipp shot and killed his ex-wife, Violeta Isackov, and injured her daughter in the parking lot of a dress shop in Feasterville, Heckler said.
It was a violent end to an abusive relationship between Philipp and Isackov that at times involved court orders and police intervention. Philipp had just posted bail on April 2 after getting arrested in November 2012 for violating a protection from abuse order when he was found sitting outside his ex-wife's house with a knife on the passenger seat of his car.
Heckler said Philipp had been in contact with a "shadowy figure" that his office could only identify under the name Smith. Philipp wanted Smith's help to set his car on fire for an insurance scam and to hire him to murder Isackov.
Investigators at the DA's office had been in contact with Smith via phone in an attempt to set up a wiretapped conversation with him and Philipp, but Philipp had decided to "take matters into his own hands," Heckler said.
"It goes without saying that [Friel] will not be the subject of any prosecution," Heckler said. Friel has been on administrative leave since the shooting, but is expected to return to work very soon.