This is the second major police shooting this week. The first occurred at a California traffic stop.
PHILADELPHIA – A gunman is in custody after opening fire and wounding six Philadelphia police officers in a tense hourslong standoff that ended early Thursday.
The gunman surrendered just after midnight when police fired tear gas into the home he was in.
All six officers were hospitalized but later released, Philadelphia police said. Another officer was injured in a vehicle accident related to the standoff.
The incident prompted Philadelphia’s mayor to echo recent calls for gun control, saying officers “need help” keeping guns off the street.
“Our officers deserve to be protected and they don’t deserve to be shot at by a guy for hours with an unlimited supply of weapons and an unlimited supply of bullets. It’s disgusting and we have to do something about it,” Mayor Jim Kenney told reporters.
Here’s what we know:
What happened during the standoff
Police say they were serving a drug warrant Wednesday afternoon when the gunfire began at a three-story rowhome in Philadelphia’s Tioga-Nicetown section.
Officers at the scene were told to stay back after at least two officers became trapped inside the home with the shooter, according to scanner audio.
Police scanner chaos: Philadelphia police shooting: Radio traffic gives inside picture of standoff scene
“We are pinned down in the second floor with three individuals handcuffed,” one officer said calmly amidst the chaotic calls. “You can hear the male moving down stairs on the first floor.”
During another round of gunfire, one officer can be heard saying, “The male is reloading, the male is reloading, shots fired inside.”
Another officer says, “That male has a long gun! That male has a long gun!”
Multiple people, including police and civilians, were trapped upstairs during the shooting, but SWAT officers were able to rescue them hours after the gunfire broke out.
Ross said authorities, including a police negotiator, talked with the suspect on the phone during the standoff. While the man would answer, he rarely spoke, Ross said. The man’s attorney also spoke with him.
‘Nothing short of a miracle’: Dramatic standoff with Philadelphia gunman ends with no loss of life
Hours later, police were able to draw the gunman out of the home with tear gas.
After 15 popping sounds and billows of smoke, police shouted commands.
“Police, put your hands on your head and come out front.” Soon after, the command was, “Go on the ground, go on the ground.”
Police chief got on phone with suspect
Ross described unorthodox decisions made during the standoff, including his own role in negotiations.
Though it was atypical for the chief to get on the phone with the gunman inside, Ross said “I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself” and be 200 yards away while it was unfolding. A police negotiator helped him through it, he said.
Ross stressed that “preservation of life, irrespective of who it is” was the goal during the standoff.
For a large portion of the standoff, the gunman refused to engage with police beyond answering the phone they were using to contact him.
Eventually, police used his attorney, Shaka Johnson, to communicate with him.
It wasn’t “optimal” though, Ross noted, as it could have prompted a more volatile situation.
Who is the suspect?
Hill, from Philadelphia, has been arrested roughly a dozen times since turning 18 and has been convicted six times on gun, drug and assault charges, the Inquirer reported. He has been in and out of prison, including serving time in federal prison, the newspaper reported.
Ross said Johnson, the suspect’s attorney, has known the gunman for more than a decade.
Police haven’t determined how much weaponry the gunman had, other than a handgun that was found on him when officers arrested him, Ross said.
SWAT officers “preliminarily confirmed” there was a long gun inside the residence, as well, but said the scene has not yet been processed because of the use of tear gas inside the house.
After being arrested, the suspect was taken to Temple University Hospital for treatment related to the tear gas, police said.
President Donald Trump weighed in Thursday morning, tweeting the gunman “should never have been allowed to be on the streets.”
Mayor Kenney’s call for gun control
Philadelphia’s mayor, a Democrat, joined the many politicians who have called for gun control legislation amid a renewed push for the laws after mass shootings and police shootings across the country in places such as El Paso, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; and Riverside, California.
“Our officers need help,” Kenney said. “They need help with gun control. They need help with keeping these weapons out of people’s hands.”
Kenney criticized lawmakers on the federal and state level who “don’t want to do anything about getting these guns off the streets and getting them out of the hands of criminals.”
“Whether it’s our six officers who were shot or it’s some 16-, 17-, 20-year-old kid on the streets of Philadelphia who gets shot with guns that shouldn’t be in people’s hands,” he said. “It’s aggravating. It’s saddening. And it’s something that we need to do something about.”
Residents in the area expressed similar thoughts after the shooting.
“It’s really scary that this is going on in a regular urban residential area. It’s makes you realize that gun control is really imperative. It’s out of hand,” said Asya Richardson, who had just finished work for the day. “I don’t realize how much control we need over guns until things like this happen. I didn’t realize that people had that kind of weaponry.”
Sophie Nicholas, a Temple student who lives near the scene, said she was visiting Aurora, Colorado, on the same day in 2012 that a gunman opened fire in a movie theater, killing 12 people and injuring 70 others.
“Why is this still happening?” she asked. “That was so many years ago.”
Contributing: Steve Kiggins and Elizabeth Lawrence, USA TODAY; Andrew Sharp and Brittany Horn, (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal. Brandon Holveck reports for the News Journal; Ryan W. Miller reports for USA TODAY. Follow Holveck and Miller on Twitter: @holveck_brandon and @RyanW_Miller.
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