Ron Jones, a SEPTA police officer, heard a radio call just before 3 p.m. yesterday about a man armed with a gun boarding a Broad Street Line subway car at Spring Garden Street, SEPTA Police Chief Tom Nestel said.
Once on board, the man allegedly tried to steal a woman's baby, Nestel said.
Jones waited at the next stop, Fairmount Avenue. When the train arrived, the man emerged - and charged the transit cop. Jones used his baton and pepper spray to no effect, the Philadelphia Daily News reports.
"It was without a doubt a life-or-death battle," Nestel said. "The guy has a good 100 pounds on the cop. He takes the cop down three times."
Jones eventually called out for help. Two passengers ran to his aid and helped the cop pin his attacker.
Backup officers soon arrived and helped Jones lock up the brawler, whose name was not immediately released.