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August 25, 2019
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Gulf Times

Gunman injures six cops in Philadelphia stand-off

A gunman who Philadelphia police say shot six city officers late on Wednesday afternoon surrendered around midnight, ending a dramatic stand-off that had two officers trapped for several hours inside a house with the suspect after a shootout erupted at 4.30pm.
Earlier, Police Commissioner Richard Ross confirmed that the officers and several people they had handcuffed during the tense stand-off had been safely extracted from the property in the 3700 block of North 15th Street in the Tioga section of North Philadelphia.
Police sources identified the suspected gunman as Maurice Hill, 36 – a Philadelphia man with a lengthy history of gun convictions and of resisting attempts to bring him to justice.
Several minutes before he exited, police fired tear gas into the property, making a series of booming sounds.
Hill finally came out to a sea of cops shouting: “Hands up! Hands up! Get down! Get down!”
At an earlier news conference outside the hospital, where some of the injured officers were taken, Ross said he had personally tried to talk to the shooter in an effort to negotiate a surrender.
He said the man had picked up the phone but had not verbally responded.
“He can end this peacefully now,” said Ross, who was wearing a ballistic vest.
Shortly before 9.25pm, the two remaining officers in the building were able to escape.
“Update: 2 PPD Officers who were in house with shooter have been safely evacuated by PPD SWAT. Suspect is still armed and inside house. Continue to avoid the area,” a police spokesperson tweeted at 9.36pm.
The stand-off with the gunman continued.
At a news conference just before 10pm, Ross praised the bravery of the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) officers who responded to the scene of the gunfire and called the work of the SWAT team that got the officers out of the house “absolutely remarkable”.
“It is nothing short of remarkable in such a confined space, that we didn’t have more of a tragedy that we did,” the commissioner said.
He said that the officers serving the arrest warrant were met with gunfire almost immediately.
“It’s nothing short of a miracle that we don’t have multiple officers killed today,” Ross said as he stood in the rain outside Temple University Hospital.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, at his side, called for stricter gun control measures.
“If the state and federal government don’t want to stand up to the NRA (National Rifle Association), then let us police ourselves,” he said. “Our officers deserve to be protected.”
The White House and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf had been briefed earlier on the unfolding situation.
Narcotics officers were attempting to serve an arrest warrant at the house when shots were fired.
Two Narcotics Strike Force bicycle officers were pinned down on the second floor with three other people who were handcuffed, police said.
The officers did not say they were hurt, but they were at risk of getting shot because the suspect on the first floor was firing into the ceiling.
None of the injuries sustained by the six officers was life-threatening, they said, and within hours, all were released from two hospitals.
Other officers sustained injuries not related to gunfire.
Three officers were taken to Temple University Hospital, and three were treated at Einstein Medical Centre.
“Fortunately, everybody’s going to be OK,” Ross said at the evening news conference.
Earlier, police said a suspect inside the house was livestreaming on Facebook.
Police had been attempting to communicate with the gunman through a loudspeaker as residents were being evacuated from nearby streets.
A daycare centre near the shooting scene was under lockdown until around 7.10pm when police said they were escorting 58 children and adults from the location.
Police officers carried babies and mothers comforted shaken children as the day care was evacuated.
“We had to stay calm and collected and get the children calm,” one staffer said.
Police set up two city buses to hold children whose parents hadn’t yet arrived to pick them up.
Other parents rushed frantically down the block, asking after their children at the bus doors.
“I’m just happy I got my daughter,” said Shere Calhoun, smoothing her eight-year-old’s hair. “I didn’t want her to be a victim.”
“Calm down, calm down,” an officer called to another parent running down the block. “The kids are safe.”
Earlier in the day, Temple University issued a lockdown for its nearby health and science campus, which includes the hospital.
“Lockdown is in effect on Health Sciences Centre Campus. Seek shelter. Secure doors. Be silent. Be still. Police are responding,” Temple advised staff and students.
It was lifted after 7pm.
Temple advised people to continue to avoid the area around the incident.

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