At least one gunman opened fire on police Wednesday as they were serving a drug warrant in a Philadelphia neighborhood, wounding six officers and triggering a standoff that extended into the evening, including a potential hostage situation, authorities said.
Two other officers were still trapped inside the house more than four hours after the shooting broke out, as dozens if not hundreds of their fellow police outside tried to talk down the shooter and sporadically took fire from him.
None of the officers’ injuries was considered life-threatening and they were being treated at hospitals, Philadelphia police Sgt. Eric Gripp said.
The shooting began around 4:30 p.m. as officers went to a home in a north Philadelphia neighborhood of brick and stone rowhomes, to serve a narcotics warrant, said Police Commissioner Richard Ross. Shots were still being fired three hours later, police said, and officers returned fire.
Ross said many officers “had to escape through windows and doors to get (away) from a barrage of bullets.”
Police were imploring the gunman to surrender, calling him on the phone several times and using a loudspeaker to communicate, Ross said.
“We’re doing everything within our power to get him to come out,” Ross said, adding: “He has the highest assurance he’s not going to be harmed when he comes out.”
The situation was exacerbated by the apparent presence of officers inside the house with the gunman. Ross said police were trying to resolve a “potential hostage situation” without elaborating.
Asked about two officers inside the house, Ross said: “We believe they’re OK, and I’m not going to say much more about that right now, out of concern for their safety.”
Temple University locked down part of its campus, and several children and staff were trapped for some time in a nearby daycare.
Police tried to push crowds of onlookers and residents back from the scene. In police radio broadcasts, officers could be heard calling for backup as reports of officers getting shot poured in.
Dozens of officers on foot lined the streets. Others were in cars and some on horses.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said its agents responded to the scene to assist Philadelphia police.
President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr were briefed on the shooting, officials said.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said he was thankful that officers’ injuries weren’t life-threatening.
“I’m a little angry about someone having all that weaponry and all that firepower, but we’ll get to that another day,” Kenney said.
Source: Associated Press – Christina Paciolla and Claudia Lauer