More than 60 new charges for alleged gunman in North Philly police standoff

Police take shooting suspect, Maurice Hill, into custody after an hourslong standoff with police, that wounded several police officers, in Philadelphia early Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. (Elizabeth Robertson/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

Police take shooting suspect, Maurice Hill, into custody after an hourslong standoff with police, that wounded several police officers, in Philadelphia early Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. (Elizabeth Robertson/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

Updated 6:12 p.m.

The bullets started flying and didn’t stop for nearly eight hours. By the end, it was dark out and six Philadelphia police officers were recovering from gunshot wounds.

Maurice Hill, the man accused of shooting them and laying siege to a residential swath of North Philadelphia that summer day, is now headed for trial on charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault, unlawful restraint and other offenses.

“He was going for broke. He didn’t care who he hurt,” said Assistant District Attorney Anthony Voci during Hill’s preliminary hearing on Thursday. The 36 year-old was held on more than $5 million bail.

Shortly after the hearing, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office announced 62 additional sets of charges against Hill for allegedly firing at that number of other police officers who responded to the scene. Those charges include aggravated assault and attempted murder.

Prosecutors say Hill opened fire shortly after narcotics officers were ordered to secure a rowhome near Broad Street and Erie Avenue in the Nicetown section of the city, allegedly emptying hundreds of rounds inside and outside of the property before surrendering to police around midnight on Aug. 14.

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

Hill’s arraignment is scheduled for Jan. 2.

During Thursday’s preliminary hearing, a half-dozen police officers calmly recounted the chaotic, hours-long standoff that ended with Hill in handcuffs, and left the 3700 block of N. 15th Street riddled with bullet holes.

Officer Shaun Parker was first to step through the front door around 4:30 p.m., which required a battering ram to open. His sergeant sent him there after a member of his unit spotted a black bag being moved from a rowhome a couple doors away, where police were executing a narcotics search warrant.

Twenty seconds later, a bullet struck the left side of Parker’s skull, not far from the crown.

“I saw a flash and I knew I was shot in the head,” said Parker, whose close-cropped hair makes it easy to see the scar.

The shots came from the kitchen at the back of the dark house, and when he peered inside, Parker said he saw a man with his arm raised right before he was hit.

The 12-year veteran took cover by a window in the dining room, which he eventually dove out of after firing into the glass and smashing away shards with his gun.

At times, the shooting slowed, but it never completely stopped over the course of several hours, the officers said. Several more uniformed cops would be injured before the night was over.

Officer Michael Guinter was shot in both arms as he stood against a wall in the living room. The bullets that struck him came through the drywall.

“They just started getting closer and closer,” said Guinter, who army-crawled his way out of the smoke-and-dust-filled downstairs before being driven to the hospital.

Officer Edward Wright was trapped on the second floor of the house along with a colleague after arresting three people there. At some point during the standoff, Wright testified that Hill flipped a black couch on its side and stuffed it against the stairs, making it impossible for them to leave without putting themselves in harm’s way.

While he was pinned, Wright said he watched one of the handcuffed men talking to Hill on speakerphone. The man had a message: stop shooting. Bullets were striking the ceiling. There are cops up here.

“The response was, ‘F–k it. I don’t give a f–k,’” Wright said.

After nearly eight hours, around midnight, Hill walked out of the front door after a police robot had removed cinder blocks in an exterior wall and pumped a gas inside.

Hill’s attorney declined to address reporters after the hearing.

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