Six Philadelphia police officers were shot in an ongoing incident Wednesday afternoon, police said. The officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
The shooting was reported near the 3700 block of N. 15th street in the North Philadelphia neighborhood of Nicetown-Tioga at around 4:30 p.m. ET. Three officers have been taken to Einstein Medical, and three have been taken to Temple Hospital. A seventh officer was injured in a car accident while reporting to the scene near North Broad and West Cayuga streets.
While one suspect was taken into custody, another armed suspect, identified as Maurice Hill, was still inside the house near the corner of North 15th and West Butler, and two officers remained trapped inside the house during the ongoing shoot-out. During this time, Sergeant Eric Gripp asked the media to “stop broadcasting tactical positions of officers.”
At 8 p.m. ET, Police Commissioner Richard Ross gave the first live news conference. He announced that the standoff situation was “nowhere near resolved” and that they were possibly dealing with a hostage situation. Ross said the shooter, Hill, 35, armed with an A-K style weapon, won’t answer the phone and they have been unable to make direct contact with him. At 9:30 p.m., the suspect remained inside, but the two officers trapped in the home were safely evacuated by the PPD SWAT without any reported injuries.
At around 12:15 a.m., Hill surrendered to the police with his hands up.
Officers Were Serving a Drug Warrant When Shots Broke Out
Philadelphia police captain Sekou Kinebrew told CNN that officers were first called to the scene for reported drug activity. Narcotic Strike Force officers were serving a warrant, and inside the home when shots erupted. After reports of gunfire, police swarmed the area and a SWAT team responded by completely surrounded the building on the 3700 Block on N. 15th street. Following protocol, officers were searching numerous areas of the house, which is why some were able to quickly escape, while two remained trapped inside.
Sergeant Eric Gripp tweeted, “Shooting incident 3700 N 15th Street. Suspect/(s) firing at police. Large police presence. AVOID AREA.”
He followed that tweet up with another report saying, “Several PPD Officers have been injured. Updates will be provided as received.” Officers shot back at the suspects, but no one was fatally injured in what became an hours long standoff. All six officers have been released from the hospital.
“It’s nothing short of a miracle no officers were killed today,” Ross said, during a second press conference around 10 p.m. “Once we get [the armed suspect] out, we will have a very expansive crime scene.”
Temple University’s Health Sciences Center Campus was put on lockdown, but it was lifted at 7:10 p.m. ET. Parents and guardians who have children at the nearby Shake, Rattle & Roll Learning Center located at 3625 N. Broad, and Precious Babies Daycare at 1433 Erie, have been picked up by bus and can be retrieved at 3643 Germantown Avenue.
The Armed Shooter Remains Inside the House
While all officers have been safely removed from the house, the scene remains active, as the Hill remains inside. People are being asked to avoid the area south of Venango Street. Hundreds of police officers and armored vehicle are outside the building in North Philadelphia near Broad Street and Butler. Septa is bypassing the area.
Special agents from the Philadelphia Field Division are on the scene assisting the Philadelphia Police as the situation continues to be an active scene, as are agents from ATF (the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives). Gun shots from scene continued to be heard at 7:30 p.m. ET, and again around 8: 30 p.m. as the standoff continued.
Police have asked helicopters to avoid the area as a suspected shooter has barricaded himself in the building, and the PPD radio has reported that the suspected shooter was “live-streaming” the event on Facebook from inside the building.
After nearly five hours, the standoff finally came to a close after Hill surrendered to the police. He was taken into custody at around 12:15 a.m.