7-hour North Philly standoff ends without fatalities: Suspect surrenders, hostages free
The suspected gunman who allegedly opened fire on police officers in Philadelphia’s Nicetown-Tioga neighborhood is in custody
Updated: 9:05 a.m.
At least six Philadelphia police officers were shot in a gunfight in North Philly on Wednesday afternoon. After a seven-hour standoff, the suspect finally surrendered just after midnight when police used tear gas to get him out of the house.
The person in question is Maurice Hill, according to his attorney, who told 6ABC that a phone call with city officials including Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and Police Commissioner Richard Ross led to his surrender.
At a Thursday morning press briefing, Ross commended the officers on scene for their skill in resolving the tense situation without any fatalities.
“This could have been more dangerous and volatile, were it not for the professionalism of that SWAT unit,’ Ross said. “The manner in which they got those officers out who were trapped — and those other civilians that were trapped — was amazing to me. That they were able to do that in such a clandestine way, without drawing fire from [the suspect].”
Ross said they were able to communicate to Hill why he should surrender over the phone. It was his first hostage negotiation as commissioner.
“People…just trying to appeal to him about why he even had a reason to live…talking about his daughter significantly…there was a newborn,” Ross said. “While certainly the attorney helped us as I told him last night, it was the tear gas that ultimately brought him outside.”
The episode reportedly started when narcotics officers attempted to serve a warrant. After that, a shooter or shooters began firing, emptying multiple rounds from inside a Nicetown rowhome and taking hostages. Two police officers became trapped inside with the shooter, according to officials. Across the street from the scene, a daycare was on lockdown with more than 50 children inside.
“It’s crazy out here,” said resident Marisa Bing, who was coming home from work when she saw a woman running down the street. “And then we seen all the cops. Nothing’s running. No trains, no buses. Stores is closed. You couldn’t even move your car.”
Neighbors reported hearing hundreds of gunshots ring out over the course of at least two hours.
As of 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, though the suspect was still barricaded in the rowhome, all six officers who’d been hospitalized due to injuries suffered in the gun battle were released and recovering. Three prisoners and the two trapped officers had also been freed by that time, according to Ross
“We are very, very lucky” that none of the officers were killed, Ross said.
BREAKING: At midnight sharp, police fired what appears to be tear gas and ordered the suspect out of the house. We don’t have clear visual from a block away. “Hands on the ground,” police order. pic.twitter.com/IQVh3WVtPx
— Max M. Marin (@MaxMMarin) August 15, 2019
Dozens of police cars, vans and trucks zoomed up both lanes of North Broad Street just after 4:30 p.m. in response to initial shots fired. Later called to the scene were ATF special agents and a SWAT team.
“I’m a little angry about someone having all that weaponry and having all that firepower, but we’ll get to that another day,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said from Temple University Hospital, where some of the injured officers were being treated. “It’s all about the officers and their families right now, and god bless them, and god save them all.”
The situation led to a seriously massive PPD presence near a residential intersection near Broad and Erie. Officers crouched behind cars, blocked off surrounding streets and cordoned off several nearby homes as the active shooting unfolded.
Police officers, at least nine, were treated for non-life-threatening injuries at Temple and Einstein hospitals. One officer was reportedly injured in a crash on the way to the scene.
Reacting to the situation, at least eight 2020 presidential candidates shared their thoughts, prayers and perspectives on policy.
As the sun went down, heavy thunderstorms were also closing in on the area.
Kids were trapped, Temple health campus was locked down
Young children were trapped for several hours in two nearby daycares, called Precious Babies Learning Academy and Shake, Rattle & Roll Learning Center. Kids were evacuated safely just after 7:15 p.m., and parents and guardians were told to meet them a few blocks away on Germantown Avenue, where they boarded off-duty SEPTA buses.
“It’s a scary situation…,” said Amanda, who declined to give her last name. She said her son was at one of the daycares. “He was there when it happened. I was at work when they had called me… They said that there were shooting and they had the kids on lockdown and stuff.”
Temple’s Health Sciences campus was put under a two-hour lockdown starting at 5 p.m., with university officials instructing people to stay silent, still and away from windows. Multiple sources indicated that one of the shooters was livestreaming from inside the house as they battled police.
Reports suggest that narcotics officers were serving a warrant on the 3700 block of North 15th Street when the incident began.
About an hour into the episode, Sgt. Eric Gripp tweeted that media should “stop broadcasting tactical positions of officers,” as law enforcement tried to bring the situation under control.
“The suspect is still firing,” Gripp posted repeatedly throughout the evening. “Continue to avoid area.”
The altercation caused numerous public transit detours and street closures. The Broad Street Line bypassed Hunting Park, Erie and Allegheny stations in both directions, and SEPTA bus routes 23, 53, 56, H and XH were detoured.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.
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