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Philly police officer wounded, suspect critical after shootout outside SEPTA bus

The incident occurred about 10 a.m. Thursday at Torresdale Avenue and Howell Street.

The scene of a police involved shooting at  Howell Street and Torresdale Avenue in Philadelphia on Thursday.
The scene of a police involved shooting at Howell Street and Torresdale Avenue in Philadelphia on Thursday.Read moreJESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer

A gunman was critically injured after firing at three uniformed Philadelphia police officers, striking and injuring one, in a shootout outside a SEPTA bus Thursday in the Wissinoming section, police said.

Officer Donald Revill, 37, of the 15th District, had a graze wound to his right forearm and was treated at Jefferson Torresdale Hospital, police said.

The 54-year-old gunman, whom police declined to name pending notification to his family, was struck “multiple times throughout the body" and taken to Temple University Hospital, where he was in critical condition. Police said at a late-morning news conference that he has “a criminal past,” but did not elaborate.

Police have not released the names of the two officers who fired their guns, but said both were assigned to the 15th District. One is a 30-year-old who has been on the force since 2011, and the other is a 31-year-old who has been on the force since 2010.

None of the 15 passengers on the bus were injured. As witnesses, they were taken from the scene at Torresdale Avenue and Howell Street to a nearby police station for questioning, said Carla Showell-Lee, a SEPTA spokesperson.

The shooting comes three months after a drug raid in Tioga went awry, leading to an hours-long standoff between a man armed with an AR-15 rifle and police. The scene unfolded on national television and became the largest shooting of Philadelphia police officers in decades, with six wounded.

Incidents like Thursday’s bring back those memories, acting Police Commissioner Christine M. Coulter said. It is “no doubt something they think about,” she said, “but they also recognize it is part of the job they do to keep people safe.”

The situation Thursday began when police responded to a report of a man with a gun on Comly Street about 10 a.m. and an officer saw a man who fit the description board the Route 56 bus, Capt. Sekou Kinebrew said at a news conference at the Jefferson Torresdale campus.

After the officer relayed information over the radio, police said, two other officers in a car saw the bus a few blocks away and blocked it. The officers then walked onto the bus, where the man pointed a gun at them.

At some point, the bus operator pushed an emergency alarm button, which switches the electronic message board on the bus to read “Emergency-Call 911,” and “verbally communicated a message to the passengers on the bus as well," Showell-Lee said. Among the passengers were teenagers heading to school on the bus, NBC10 reported.

The officers “tactically” retreated onto the street, Kinebrew said. The man followed and began shooting at them. It was unclear how many shots he fired because his gun had not been examined yet, Coulter said.

The two officers shot back, each firing about three times, according to the preliminary investigation, Kinebrew said. A third officer, Revill, arrived and “engaged the subject, and in some sort of a tussle, they went to the ground,” he said.

Revill, who has been on the force since 2007 and did not fire his weapon, was the only officer injured. Mayor Jim Kenney said the officer, who is married with a 15-year-old son, was asking about his family when he was in the hospital.

“It could have been a way worse situation,” Coulter said. “It’s just an example of how something that sometimes seems routine could turn into something very tragic very quickly.”

Police said they were still trying to determine the circumstances around the initial report. Charges against the man have not been announced.