Evgen_Prozhyrko/iStock(PHILADELPHIA) — A dramatic, hours-long shootout and standoff between a gunman and Philadelphia police ended overnight with the suspect in custody and all six officers who were shot surviving.
The North Philadelphia neighborhood of Tioga-Nicetown is littered with evidence markers and crime scene tape Thursday as the police department recovers from the attack.
Officers were serving a narcotics warrant on suspected shooter Maurice Hill and had entered the home when gunfire erupted around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, authorities said.
Hill, armed with multiple guns, allegedly barricaded himself inside and fired from the first floor as he held two officers and three civilians hostage on the second floor, police said.
Gunfire rained down on police for hours. Gunshots ricocheted off sidewalks and homes as officers crawled and crouched behind cars to avoid getting hit.
One woman said she heard over 100 gunshots and saw people running for their lives.
Six officers were struck by gunfire. They have all been released from the hospital, authorities said.
“This is nothing short of a miracle that we don’t have multiple officers killed today,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross told reporters.
After a tense, seven-hour standoff, tear gas convinced Hill to surrender and he was taken to a hospital. He was later seen leaving the hospital and being placed in a transport van.
Ross called the dramatic negotiations with Hill “unorthodox,” adding that this was the first time he as commissioner stepped in during hostage negotiations.
“I am surprised that he came out,” Ross said, “because he indicated to some that he was not going to go back. He told me on the phone, he had an extensive criminal history. He knew the system.”
Hill called his longtime attorney, Shaka Johnson, around 8:30 p.m., hours into the standoff, to ask for help, Johnson told ABC News.
Johnson said he believes the standoff wasn’t planned. He said Hill, who welcomed a baby two days ago, was caught up in the moment and the situation escalated quickly.
According to Johnson, Hill wasn’t making demands to police and just wanted to end the situation in a way that ensured him no harm.
Eventually, Ross gave Johnson a deadline of 11:45 p.m. to get Hill to surrender, according to Johnson, who said he was at the scene when Hill surrendered and spoke to his client via a megaphone.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kinney on Wednesday night told reporters police need help with gun control and keeping weapons out of criminals’ hands. Hill has a criminal record, the mayor said, but was able to obtain weapons and bullets.
“Whether it was the six officers or some kid on the street of Philadelphia who gets shot with guns that shouldn’t be in people’s hands, it’s aggravating and sad. It’s something we need to to do something about it. If the state and federal government don’t want to stand up to the NRA and other folks, let us police ourselves,” Kinney said.
“Our officers deserve to be protected and don’t deserve to be shot at by a guy for hours with unlimited amount of weapons and bullets. It’s disgusting,” he continued.
If the bullet that grazed the head of one officer hit a slightly different spot, his “two boys would’ve grow up without a dad,” the mayor said. “Because this government, both federal and state level, don’t want to do anything about getting guns off the street.”
President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday, “The Philadelphia shooter should never have been allowed to be on the streets. He had a long and very dangerous criminal record. Looked like he was having a good time after his capture, and after wounding so many police. Long sentence – must get much tougher on street crime!”
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is also looking to combat gun violence, tweeting Wednesday, “Tonight is another reminder of the selfless sacrifice of law enforcement and first responders. … We must remain committed to combatting violence and getting dangerous weapons out of our communities.”
Over 1,600 people died in Pennsylvania from gunshot wounds in 2017, which is above the national average, according to the governor.
Wolf’s office said Wednesday he will sign an “executive order to make sweeping changes to executive branch agencies and programs to better target the public health crisis of gun violence.”
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