6 officers shot in Philadelphia
Police commissioner says two officers trapped in house hours after standoff began; one suspect in custody
PHILADELPHIA — At least six police officers have been shot in a standoff that unfolded in a northern Philadelphia neighborhood early Wednesday evening, authorities said.
Gunfire broke out after police attempted to serve a narcotics warrant to a home about 4:30 p.m., officials said. A barrage of bullets forced officers to return fire and retreat through windows and doors.
More than three hours after the first shots, police were still locked in a dangerous standoff with at least one gunman, who was camped out in a home, occasionally shooting at officers.
As the sun set, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said at a news conference that he was “worried about potential hostage situations” and said the suspect apparently had no intention of surrendering.
“We’ve got a pretty horrible situation unfolding — and you hear me say unfolding because it is not resolved,” Ross said at a news conference.
After they traded shots for another two hours, police said they were trying to talk to the shooter, “imploring him to surrender and avoid further injuries,” Sgt. Eric Gripp said.
Live footage from media helicopters showed scores of officers swarming a home in the residential Nicetown-Tioga neighborhood. They crouched behind cars and appeared to exchange fire with someone inside the house. On the ground, local reporters’ microphones picked up sounds of gunshots. Multiple officers were seen being carried into police vehicles and transported away from the scene.
A bullet grazed one of the officers’ heads, Ross told reporters. Others were shot in the arm and elsewhere, he said. Additional officers were also receiving treatment for non-gunshot injuries, and all were in stable condition. The officers were transported to nearby Temple University Hospital and Einstein Medical Center.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, a Democrat, said the injured officers were “all in good spirits.”
“We're thankful — a little angry about someone having all the weaponry and firepower — but we'll get to that another day,” he said at the news conference. “Right now it's about the officers and their families.”
At least one suspect is in custody, police told a local NBC affiliate. Another, inside the house, was at one point livestreaming the battle on Facebook, authorities told The Philadelphia Inquirer.
At 8 p.m., two officers were still in the house, Ross said, adding he was unsure about their condition.
Alisha Bogan, who lives around the corner from the scene, said she was on her way home to her daughter and mother when she heard gunshots.
“There were a whole lot of people running,” Bogan said in an interview.
As the gunfire continued, she took cover under a car. She then tried to get back into her house to see her family, but couldn't get past the police caution tape.
The melee began about 4:30 p.m. Soon afterward, more than 30 police vehicles swarmed the intersection of North Broad Street and West Erie Avenue, a semi-residential area, with homes and apartment buildings alongside temples and coffee shops.
Two day cares — Shake, Rattle and Roll Learning Center and Precious Babies Learning Academy —are located about two blocks from the nexus of the shooting. Police said the children were transferred to safety and instructed parents to pick their kids up nearby.
Nearly two hours after the first 911 calls, the street in front of the home was still clogged with cruisers, armored vehicles and uniformed officers with guns drawn.
In a statement, the White House said President Donald Trump had been briefed on the shooting and was monitoring the situation. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, said he was doing the same, and offered state support to local law enforcement.
Temple issued a lockdown for its Health Sciences Center Campus and advised anyone there to “Seek shelter. Secure doors. Be silent. Be still.” The university lifted the lockdown two hours later, but it advised students, faculty members and staffers to steer clear of the crime scene.
Omar Caid, a student at the school, said he got an email from Temple telling him to take cover. At first, he said, he wasn't worried — he's seen shootings in his community before.
“I thought it was a normal shooting — this isn't the best neighborhood, but it isn't the worst,” he said. “I thought it was gang-related, then I heard it was three officers and knew this was different.”
In interviews with other local television channels, residents, crowding the streets behind police barricades, described a frightening, chaotic scene punctuated by repeated volleys of gunfire and wafts of smoke.
“It was like a war — like a scene that you see in war,” a woman who lives in the neighborhood told NBC. “The guns, the fire, the noise — it was like bombs going off simultaneously at a time where people are having dinner.”
Authorities stand outside a house as they investigate an active shooting situation, Wednesday in the Nicetown neighborhood of Philadelphia.
Officers gather for crowd control near a massive police presence set up outside a house as they investigate a shooting Wednesday in Philadelphia.