Alleged gunman behind North Philly standoff held for trial on dozens more charges

Policer officers watch as a gunman is apprehended following a standoff Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Policer officers watch as a gunman is apprehended following a standoff Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

More than seven hours after the start of an armed standoff with police in North Philadelphia, Maurice Hill lay in a bed at Temple University Hospital.

According to Officer James Balmer, Hill told him, “I hope them cops are dead,” in that hospital room after being arrested on charges he allegedly shot six cops and put dozens more officers in danger.

The interaction between suspect and responding officer came to light Thursday during the second part of Hill’s preliminary hearing. After more than three hours of testimony, the 36-year-old Hill is now scheduled to stand trial on dozens more criminal charges, including attempted murder, aggravated assault, and reckless endangerment.

Hill’s arraignment on this latest batch of offenses is set for March 19.

“We respect [Municipal Court] Judge [Karen] Simmons’ decision and look forward to continuing to prosecute this defendant,” said Assistant District Attorney Danielle Burkavage.

While Hill’s first preliminary hearing largely centered on testimony from the officers shot inside and outside a white rowhouse on Aug. 14, Thursday’s proceeding was rooted in testimony from cops who took fire while seeking cover behind parked cars, porch walls, and trees.

Police Officer Alex Nicholson, part of a backup squad called to the 3700 block of North 15th Street, surveyed the scene from the second floor of a home on North Sydenham Street. The house provided a view of the property from which Hill was allegedly shooting.

From that vantage point, Nicholson testified, he saw a Black man in a white tank top inside the building, pacing with a gun in his hand. Soon, bullets were flying in Nicholson’s direction.

“We all dropped to the ground and began crawling out of the room,” said Nicholson.

Around midnight, Hill emerged from the rowhouse after police tossed canisters of tear gas inside.

Police later recovered five guns from the property, including an AR-15.

Dozens more officers are slated to provide details about the violent standoff during a third — and final — preliminary hearing. That proceeding is scheduled for April 30.

Hill is being held on more than $7 million bail.

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