In a nearly 8-hour gun battle-turned-standoff Wednesday, six Philadelphia police officers were shot and two others were trapped for hours inside a home with a gunman in the Tioga section of North Philadelphia.
After SWAT teams helped extract the trapped officers and law enforcement officials spent hours negotiating with the gunman, police finally resorted to tear gas. Officials say that’s what got the gunman, identified as 36-year-old Maurice Hill of Philadelphia, to surrender to police around midnight.
Here is what you should know:
Six officers shot, all released the same night: The shooting began around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday on the 3700 block of North 15th Street as police attempted to serve a search warrant on narcotics charges at the home. Six officers were shot, and all were released from the hospital by the night’s end. Police on Thursday released the identities of the six officers.
Two more officers, three people in their custody were trapped inside: Two police officers who rushed to the second floor when the raid began were trapped along with three handcuffed suspects as they precariously radioed police on the outside for help. When the gunman fired through the floor, all five retreated to a bathroom in hopes that the tile would provide some protection from bullets. The officers and their prisoners were rescued by a SWAT unit about five hours into the standoff. Officials are keeping details of the operation under wraps so as not to reveal tactics. As of Friday, there was no word on whether the three people who were with the officers had been charged with any offenses.
The gunman: More than seven hours after shots first rang out on North 15th Street, Hill walked out of the home with his hands in the air. Records show Hill has a long history of gun convictions and resisting jail time. From inside the home on Wednesday evening, Hill called his lawyer in a panic. “I told him, ‘you gotta surrender, man,’” attorney Shaka Johnson told reporters after Hill was taken into custody. District Attorney Larry Krasner, Ross, and Johnson all spoke to Hill on the phone while he was barricaded in the home, assuaging Johnson’s concerns of being killed if he exited the building, Krasner said Thursday, adding that Hill was in an “animated, excited, frankly dangerous state.” Hill was treated at Temple University Hospital for tear-gas exposure, then jailed. Charges have not yet been filed, but Krasner said Hill would likely be charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and weapons offenses and could spend the rest of his life in prison. Officials said Thursday he had an AR-15 assault rifle, and had a handgun in his pocket when he surrendered.
‘No evidence’ of livestream: While rumors surfaced Wednesday that the shooter was livestreaming the incident on social media, no such video had surfaced by Thursday afternoon. Facebook said: “There was no evidence of a livestream from the shooter on Facebook or Instagram and we continue to work with law enforcement.”
Fear, chaos for daycare children and parents: While the gunfire erupted from a block away, Precious Babies Day Care remained on lockdown for more than three hours. Dozens of children hunkered down in the daycare’s stairwell to protect them from stray bullets as their terrified parents anxiously awaited updates. “I’m ready to get my son home and talk to him,” one mother said. “But I don’t know what I’m going to say.”
Neighborhood at a standstill: Temple University’s nearby medical campuses were also placed on lockdown as the gun battle unfolded, and hospital staff tended to the police officers shot blocks away. SEPTA officials instructed trains and buses to avoid nearby stops. Meanwhile, neighbors close to the standoff were ordered not to enter their homes. On Thursday, residents cautiously emerged from their homes, surveying the aftermath. The block that was once locally famous for its Christmas decorations has now achieved a different kind of fame for being the site of Philadelphia’s largest mass shooting of police officers.
A national response: After the officers trapped inside the home were freed, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney called for stricter gun control measures. “If the state and federal government don’t want to stand up to the NRA, then let us police ourselves,” he said. “Our officers deserve to be protected." At City Hall on Thursday, Gov. Tom Wolf and other elected officials joined Kenney in calling for stronger gun-control legislation to keep high-capacity weapons out of the hands of criminals. President Donald Trump also weighed in on the shootout Thursday, tweeting that the alleged gunman “should never have been allowed to be on the streets." United States Attorney William M. McSwain also praised Philadelphia’s police while taking aim at Krasner, saying, “it is now time for the District Attorney and his enablers to stop making excuses for criminals.” On Friday, Gov. Wolf signed an executive order aimed at reducing gun violence in the state. The new order requires state agencies to collect more data about gun violence, instructs state police to boost their monitoring of hate groups and white supremacists, and increases efforts to help local police departments respond to threats of mass shootings.
Another mass shooting: Five people were shot in Ogontz Thursday, just about 24 hours after the standoff that terrorized Tioga began, and on the same street, just more than 2 miles away.