Gunman dead after shootout with police in Frankford

Philadelphia Police are responding to an active shooter situation in the Frankford neighborhood. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Philadelphia Police are responding to an active shooter situation in the Frankford neighborhood. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Updated 4:45 p.m.

Philadelphia police pronounced an alleged gunman dead after a shootout on a Northeast Philadelphia block.

Police believe the man, who barricaded himself in a rowhouse on the 4600 block of Hawthorne Street, was fatally struck by police gunfire, according to Police Deputy Commissioner Robin Wimberly.

Pennsylvania state parole officers served a man a warrant for his arrest for violations of parole, Wimberly said.

The man began shooting at the state parole officers upon their arrival at 1 p.m. on Thursday. The officers returned fire. Philadelphia Police then responded to the scene and the shooter fired at police from the second-floor window of a Frankford rowhouse.

Angelita Santiago, 50, has lived on the 4600 block of Hawthorne for two years. She was home watching TV with her 7-year-old grandson when she heard gunshots.

“I grabbed him and threw him in the bathroom, in the tub, and I look out the window and see our neighbor going back and forth with the police shooting,” Santiago said.

She says the gunman had been her neighbor since she moved to the Frankford block. She described him as a “sweetheart” and a “very active neighbor” who looked out for everyone.

“He never bothered anybody on the block,” Santiago said. “Everybody goes through things in life but obviously he was going through something in the last few days. He wasn’t really feeling himself.”

Allen M. Stearne School, Ethan Allen School, John Marshall School, James J. Sullivan School, Warren G. Harding Middle School and Frankford High School were all placed under lockdown due to their proximity to the shooting. Those lockdowns were lifted around 3 p.m.

Several of the schools are not directly in the area of the shooting, but because bus routes would traverse through the police secure zone, students were not immediately dismissed for the day, according to School District spokesperson Imahni Moise.

The Frankford branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia also closed due to the shootout.

Lekeisha Cleveland lives around the corner from the block where the shootout happened. She was talking with her son in her home when she heard the first round of gunshots. “I heard five gunshots tried not to pay no mind. Then I heard six more. I was frantic,” Cleveland said. Cleveland then attempted to pick up her other son from Stearne Elementary but could not get to him because the police had blocked traffic in the area and the school was locked down.

The incident marks the third lockdown her sons have experienced, she said.

Each time, she feels “a little frantic, a little scared,” she said.

Shootings or gunshots in an area have caused school lockdowns more than 200 times over the pas10 years, according to Philadelphia School District records analyzed by Billy Penn.

Two of the schools closed off Thursday due to the gunfire — Ethan Allen and Frankford — have experienced more than five lockdowns over the past decade, according to Billy Penn.  Gunfire in the neighborhood is the most common reason for Philadelphia schools to declare a lockdown.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.  

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