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Philadelphia police shooting standoff ends with suspect taken into custody, multiple officers wounded — live updates

Philadelphia Inquirer logo Philadelphia Inquirer 8/15/2019 Robert Moran

Video by Associated Press

A gunman who police say shot six city officers late Wednesday afternoon surrendered around midnight, ending a dramatic standoff that had two officers trapped for several hours inside a house in the Tioga section of North Philadelphia with the suspect after a shootout erupted at 4:30 p.m. 

Earlier, Police Commissioner Richard Ross confirmed that the officers and several people they had handcuffed during the tense standoff had been safely extracted from the property in the 3700 block of North 15th Street.

Here are the latest updates. 

Slideshow by photo services

Sources identify gunman, police try to negotiate surrender

Police sources identified him as Maurice Hill, 36 — a Philadelphia man with a lengthy history of gun convictions and of resisting attempts to bring him to justice.

Just before he exited the residence, loud booms could be heard, apparently from police projectiles. He was then placed into an awaiting police van and taken to Temple University Hospital to be evaluated.

At an earlier news conference outside the hospital, where some of the injured officers were taken, Ross said he had personally tried to talk to the shooter in an effort to negotiate a surrender. He said the man had picked up the phone but had not verbally responded.

“He can end this peacefully now,” said Ross, who was wearing a ballistic vest.

Officers escape, standoff continues

Shortly before 9:25 p.m., the two remaining officers in the building were able to escape.

“Update: 2 PPD Officers who were in house with shooter have been safely evacuated by PPD SWAT. Suspect is still armed and inside house. Continue to avoid the area,” a police spokesman tweeted at 9:36 p.m.

The standoff with the gunman continued.

At a news conference just before 10 p.m., Ross praised the bravery of officers who responded to the scene of the gunfire and called the work of the SWAT team that got the officers out of the house “absolutely remarkable.”

“It is nothing short of remarkable in such a confined space, that we didn’t have more of a tragedy that we did,” the commissioner said. He said the officers serving the arrest warrant were met with gunfire almost immediately.

“It’s nothing short of a miracle that we don’t have multiple officers killed today," Ross said as he stood in the rain outside Temple hospital, where several of the officers had been treated.

Kenney, at his side, called for stricter gun control measures. “If the state and federal government don’t want to stand up to the NRA, then let us police ourselves,” he said. “Our officers deserve to be protected."

Trump, Wolf briefed

The White House and Gov. Tom Wolf have been briefed on the unfolding situation.

Shooting occurred when officers tried to serve warrant

Narcotics officers were attempting to serve an arrest warrant at the house when shots were fired. Two Narcotics Strike Force bicycle officers were pinned down on the second floor with three other people who were handcuffed, police said. The officers did not say they were hurt, but they were at risk of getting shot because the suspect on the first floor was firing into the ceiling.

Initially, police said there was one shooter inside a house on the block still firing shots shortly before 5 p.m. Later, police said they believed there were two shooters inside.

At an 8 p.m. news conference, Ross said he still did not know if there were one or two shooters involved.

6 officers were shot

Just before 6:20 p.m., police confirmed that six officers had been shot. None of the injuries was life-threatening, they said, and within hours, all were released from the hospital. Other officers sustained non-shooting injuries.

One officer was grazed in the head, but was conscious and communicating, police said. A second officer was hit in one or both arms. A third officer was possibly shot in the arm.

Three officers were taken to Temple University Hospital, and three were being treated at Einstein Medical Center.

“Fortunately, everybody’s going to be OK,” Ross said at the evening news conference.

Ross: ‘No indication that he’s trying to surrender’

Of the shooter, Police Commissioner Richard Ross said, "He is continuing to fire. It is of grave concern to us.

“There is no indication that he’s trying to surrender," Ross said. "We’re very concerned about the neighborhood. We’re very concerned about the police officers.”

As the chaos erupted outside with police dashing for cover from the gunfire, one of the trapped officers calmly relayed position details to a police dispatcher and his superiors and colleagues who were listening.

They had at least two people with them in handcuffs, he said.

‘Everyone stay back’: Calls detail police response

Within seconds after the shooting began, a dispatcher called for an “assist officer,” meaning a police officer needed immediate help.

“Shots fired!” an officer declared.

Then, in rapid succession, came a “second assist!” and then a “third assist!”

“Officer down!” someone shouted.

“Everyone stay back!” one of the commanders outside ordered.

Within minutes, one of the officers announced he had eight officers at the front door ready to rush in.

Instead, top brass ordered all officers to maintain safe positions out of the line of fire.

“Male shooting out the back! Everyone stay put!” another commander declared a short time later.

Then came an excited announcement a minute later: “That male has a long gun! That male has a long gun!”

Shots continued to be fired from the house. Just before 5:14 p.m., a dispatcher reported that there might be a second male shooter inside.

Earlier, police said a suspect inside the house was livestreaming on Facebook.

Police try to communicate with gunman

Police had been attempting to communicate with the gunman through a loudspeaker as residents were being evacuated from nearby streets.

Parents shaken by day-care evacuation

A day-care center near the shooting scene was under lockdown until around 7:10 p.m. when police said they were escorting 58 children and adults from the location. Police officers carried babies and mothers comforted shaken children as the day-care was evacuated.

“We had to stay calm and collected and get the children calm,” one staffer said.

Police set up two city buses to hold children whose parents hadn’t yet arrived to pick them up. Other parents rushed frantically down the block, asking after their children at the bus doors.

“I’m just happy I got my daughter,” said Shere Calhoun, smoothing her 8-year-old’s hair. “I didn’t want her to be a victim.”

“Calm down, calm down,” an officer called to another parent running down the block. “The kids are safe.”

Lockdown lifted at Temple’s Health Sciences Campus

Earlier in the day, Temple University issued a lockdown for its nearby health and science campus, which includes the hospital.

“Lockdown is in effect on Health Sciences Center Campus. Seek shelter. Secure doors. Be silent. Be still. Police are responding,” Temple advised to staff and students. It was lifted after 7 p.m.

Temple advised people to continue to avoid the area around the incident.

SEPTA service disrupted

SEPTA officials said Broad Street Line trains were not stopping at Erie, Allegheny, and Hunting Park Stations, and several bus routes were being detoured.

Neighborhood impact

Amanda Baker was hunkered down, avoiding the windows in her apartment a few houses down the block from the one police had surrounded.

“I was watching TV and I heard all this ruckus,” she said, breathing heavily while speaking to a reporter by phone. “Next thing I saw, there were cops with their guns drawn running past the window. This is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen.”

She said she’d been calling neighbors who were coming home from work and alerting them not to come to the house.

Staff writers Chris Palmer, Mike Newall, Mensah M. Dean, David Gambacorta, Jeremy Roebuck, Claudia Vargas, Aubrey Whelan, Andrew Seidman and Robert Moran contributed to this article.


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