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Suspect captured after police shooting, car chase

A woman’s abduction led to an Oct. 29 shooting involving police, followed by a wild auto pursuit through several Northeast neighborhoods that ended when the suspect crashed head-on into another vehicle at a Torresdale intersection.

Amazingly, no serious injuries were reported among police, the alleged abductor or innocent bystanders, authorities said.

According to Philadelphia police, the furor began at about 9:15 p.m. on Oct. 29 on the 7300 block of Ditman St. in Holmesburg when two patrol cops from the 15th district spotted a parked car that matched the description of a vehicle that had been used in the abduction of a woman two days earlier. Authorities disclosed little information about the abduction, except that it involved a woman who was bound and placed into a green Toyota.

When the officers spotted the suspect’s car, they observed a man sitting inside of it. He was later identified as Ronald Gaskins, 34, of the 8500 block of Marsden St. in Upper Holmesburg.

As the officers approached the vehicle from the rear, Gaskins allegedly shifted it into reverse and struck one of the officers. The cop’s sweater became snagged on the car as Gaskins then shifted into a forward gear and dragged the officer several feet, police said.

The prone officer’s partner fired his gun once at the vehicle, striking the rear window. Soon after, the prone officer’s sweater became freed from the fleeing car as it sped southbound on Ditman Street, then eastbound on Cottman Avenue. In an official statement to the news media, the police department did not specify if the officers chased the car closely or hung back so as not to escalate the danger.

Police did not describe the route that the fleeing car took, but the roadway pursuit ended at Frankford Avenue and Convent Lane in Torresdale when the car crashed head-on into another vehicle. Gaskins allegedly exited the car, attempted to escape on foot and fought with officers, who were able to subdue him with the help of a Taser, according to police.

Gaskins reportedly was treated at Aria Health-Torresdale for minor cuts and bruises. He was charged with aggravated assault, possessing an instrument of crime, reckless endangerment and fleeing police. Gaskins was also identified as having been involved in the prior abduction, although charges in that crime were pending on Tuesday. Gaskins is jailed at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in lieu of $100,000 bail. He is scheduled for a Nov. 18 preliminary hearing.

Gaskins has at least seven prior adult arrests in Philadelphia dating to January 2000, according to court records, and served a six- to 23-month county prison sentence after he was convicted of stealing a car and carrying a gun without a licence in 2004. He also has aggravated assault, harassment, contempt, resisting arrest and drug convictions and was sentenced to probation four separate times. ••

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