Several police officers were injured in a gunfight in a North Philadelphia neighborhood Wednesday afternoon that dragged into the evening in what authorities called a “potential hostage situation.” At least six officers were shot, police spokesman Sgt. Eric Gripp tweeted around 6:20 p.m., adding that the suspect was still firing. All six are “at area hospitals with non life threatening injuries. Additional officers also receiving treatment for non-gunshot injuries,” he wrote on Twitter. One of the officers was shot in the head, reported WCAU channel 10, the NBC station serving Philadelphia, though he was conscious and communicating as it was a graze wounds.
According to WCAU, citing police sources, one suspect is in custody, but another suspect, a male, is still barricaded in one of the rowhouses in the Nicetown-Tioga section of the city. “That male has a long gun! That male has a long gun!” police at the scene told dispatchers as the shootout began. Police Commissioner Richard Ross said at an evening press conference that two officers remained trapped inside the building in what he called a “potential hostage situation.” According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the bicycle officers with the Narcotics Strike Force were on the building’s second floor with three other people in handcuffs, police said. The suspect on the first floor was firing into the ceiling, endangering them all, the Inquirer reported.
“Officers are attempting to communicate with the shooter; imploring him to surrender and avoid further injuries,” Sgt. Gripp wrote, though he added 20 minutes later that “suspect is still firing at officers” despite ongoing communications efforts. In the rush to respond, a seventh officer was injured at a nearby Broad Street intersection in a car accident that also injured a pedestrian, police said. The Fox affiliate in Philadelphia reported that the gunman was livestreaming the shootout, though WTXF did not say on what platform. The shooting reportedly started around 4:30 p.m. while police were carrying out a narcotics investigation in the low-income, residential neighborhood near the corner of 15th and Butler streets. After the shooting began, police responded in massive numbers, with dozens of cruisers and at least one armored vehicle.
Sgt. Gripp tweeted shortly before 6 p.m. that police were being hampered by the media frenzy. “Shooting still active. Avoid area,” he tweeted. “MEDIA - STOP BROADCASTING TACTICAL POSITIONS OF OFFICERS.” The police spokesman also warned on Twitter, “MEDIA HELICOPTERS: PULL BACK FROM THE AREA - YOU ARE HINDERING OPERATIONS.” Mayor Jim Kenney and District Attorney Larry Krasner were at Temple University hospital to visit wounded officers. Mr. Kenney said he had talked with all six officers “were all in good spirits” considering what had happened earlier. He said he spoke to an officer who suffered a graze wound to the head. The policeman was with his two sons, the ages of whom the mayor estimated at 9 or 10. The White House said President Trump was briefed on the shooting and continues to monitor the situation. He is spending the week at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
According to one neighborhood witness who spoke to a WCAU reporter Aaron Baskerville, there were “a series of shootings, the smell of gunpowder” before police descended on the scene. She estimated the number of shots at “over 100” and said it sounded “like a war, like scenes you see” in a movie. WCAU reporter Brandon Hudson said the neighborhood sees frequent shootings and residents, who were milling about the cordoned-off streets, “don’t seem to want to talk me … [They’re] always reluctant to talk because of fear.” Temple University, which is located in north Philadelphia, locked down one of its campuses in response to the shootings. “Lockdown is in effect for Health Sciences Center Campus,” the university tweeted. “Seek shelter. Secure doors. Be silent. Be still. Police are responding.”https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/aug/14/philadelphia-active-shooter-reported/http://archive.is/HZq1X