Monday 19 August 2019

Gunman in custody after six police injured in Philadelphia shooting

Temple University locked down part of its campus, and several children and staff were trapped for some time in a nearby nursery.

Officers gather for crowd control near a massive police presence set up outside a house as they investigate an active shooting situation in Philadelphia (Matt Rourke/AP)
Officers gather for crowd control near a massive police presence set up outside a house as they investigate an active shooting situation in Philadelphia (Matt Rourke/AP)

By Christina Paciolla and Claudia Lauer, Associated Press

A gunman is in custody after opening fire on police as they were serving a drug warrant in Philadelphia, wounding six officers and triggering a standoff that extended into the night, authorities said.

The shooting began as officers went to a home in a north Philadelphia neighbourhood to serve a narcotics warrant in an operation “that went awry almost immediately”, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said.

Many officers “had to escape through windows and doors to get (away) from a barrage of bullets”, he added.

The six officers who were struck by gunfire have been released from hospital, a spokesman said.

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Authorities stand outside a house as they investigate in Philadelphia (Matt Rourke/AP)

Two other officers were trapped inside the house for about five hours after the shooting broke out but were freed by a Swat team well after darkness fell on the residential neighbourhood.

Three people who had been taken into custody in the house before the shooting started were also safely evacuated, police said.

“It’s nothing short of a miracle that we don’t have multiple officers killed today,” Mr Ross said.

Police urged the gunman to surrender, at one point putting his lawyer on the phone to try to persuade him to give up, Mr Ross said.

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Police escort a bystander away (Matt Rourke/AP)

Temple University locked down part of its campus, and several children and staff were trapped for some time in a nearby nursery.

Police tried to push crowds of onlookers and residents back from the scene. In police radio broadcasts, officers could be heard calling for back-up as reports of officers getting shot poured in.

“I was just coming off the train and I was walking upstairs and there were people running back downstairs who said that there was someone up there shooting cops,” said Abdul Rahman Muhammad, 21, an off-duty medic. “There was just a lot of screaming and chaos.”

Dozens of officers on foot lined the streets. Others were in cars and some on horses.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said its agents responded to the scene to assist police.

President Donald Trump and attorney general William Barr were briefed on the shooting, officials said.

Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney said he was thankful that officers’ injuries were not life-threatening.

“I’m a little angry about someone having all that weaponry and all that firepower, but we’ll get to that another day,” he said.

PA Media

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