6 of­fi­cers shot in Philadel­phia

Po­lice com­mis­sioner says two of­fi­cers trapped in house hours af­ter stand­off be­gan; one sus­pect in cus­tody

The Morning Call - - FRONT PAGE - By Maura Ewing, Reis The­bault and Michael Brice-Sad­dler

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.”

MATT ROURKE/AP

Au­thor­i­ties stand out­side a house as they in­ves­ti­gate an ac­tive shoot­ing sit­u­a­tion, Wed­nes­day in the Nice­town neigh­bor­hood of Philadel­phia.

MATT ROURKE/AP

Of­fi­cers gather for crowd con­trol near a mas­sive po­lice pres­ence set up out­side a house as they in­ves­ti­gate a shoot­ing Wed­nes­day in Philadel­phia.

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