WhatiLearned.com - What I Learned
What I Learned. WhatILearned.com. Breaking News and Stories from around the globe.
“It was like a war, like a scene that you see in war,” a witness said.
Six police officers were shot Wednesday in Philadelphia in what authorities described as an active shooting, prompting a massive response as gunshots continued to ring out for hours.
Police were serving a narcotics warrant at the home and were inside in the kitchen area when the gunman began to fire, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said.
“They had to escape through windows and doors from a barrage of bullets,” he told reporters outside a hospital.
Multiple shots were fired from the suspect who, officials said, seemed at times to have “an unlimited supply of weapons and bullets.”
All six of the officers who were shot Wednesday were released after being treated at local hospitals.
“It’s nothing short of a miracle we don’t have multiple cops killed today,” Ross said.
In the chaos of the shooting, authorities said two officers had been trapped in the second floor of the building. The officers were stuck in the building, in a different area from the shooter, for more than five hours.
Ross said SWAT officers were able to surreptitiously remove the two officers, as well as three hostages being held in the building, without the shooter becoming aware.
But the tense standoff between officers and the gunman continued on for hours, with multiple police officers remaining in position outside the building Wednesday night while shots continued to ring out from the building.
Ross said buildings across the street and the department’s SWAT car have been struck by gunfire.
The shooting occurred at about 4:30 p.m. on the 3700 block of 15th Street in the Nicetown–Tioga section of the city. Video from the scene showed officers loading a person into the back of a police cruiser.
Ross said “multiple” people had been taken into custody when police served the warrant, just before the shooting began.
Then while officers were still inside the building, the unnamed suspect opened fire, prompting officers inside to escape through windows and doors.
By 10:30 p.m., Ross said the situation had evolved from a “hostage situation” to a “barricaded suspect.”
Authorities said they were trying to reach out to the shooter and “imploring him to surrender and avoid further injuries.” Police officers were seen carrying toddlers and holding the hands of young children as they led them away from the scene.
“We are trying to talk to this male, trying to let him know he can end this peacefully,” Ross said.
Police have reached out through loudspeaker and have called the suspect at the home, Ross said.
By late Wednesday night, Ross said police had finally made contact via phone with the suspect and his attorney in a three-way call, trying to persuade him to end the standoff and surrender.
Local news outlets reported that the suspect had been livestreaming the confrontation with police, but a spokesperson for Facebook told BuzzFeed News the company has found no evidence that the suspect was live-streaming the incident on Facebook or Instagram.
Meanwhile, police have cordoned off a large area of the neighborhood as shots continue to be fired from the building.
A daycare nearby was forced to shelter in place as police officers swarmed to the area, Philadelphia’s NBC affiliate reported. About 80 children were stuck inside.
“It was like a war, like a scene that you see in war,” a woman who lives in the neighborhood told the station. “The guns, the fire, the noise — it was like bombs going off simultaneously at a time where people are having dinner.”
Three hours after the shooting, police officers were seen carrying toddlers and holding the hands of young children as they led them away from the scene.
The nearby Temple University was locked down due to the ongoing shooting situation. Local news media broadcasts showed a massive police presence responding to the scene.
Located in North Philadelphia, Nicetown–Tioga is one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city and one of the highest crime rates in the area. It is located in one of the three poorest zip codes in the city; according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the three zip codes account for nearly a third of all homicides in the city since 2013.
“We’re doing everything within our power to get him out,” Ross said.
The White House said President Trump had been briefed on the shooting.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenny said he had spoken to all six of the officers who were shot Wednesday, and that city officials were focused at the moment in resolving the violent situation.
“We’re just thankful,” he said about officers being injured in the incident. He then added, “A little angry about someone having all that weaponry and all that firepower, but we’ll get to that another day.”
Kenny said the suspect, who had a “long” criminal record, appeared to have a large supply of ammunition, which had prolonged the standoff and put officers in danger.
“Our officers need help, they need help, they need help with gun control,” Kenny said. “Our officers deserve to be protected, and they don’t deserve to be shot at by a guy for hours with an unlimited supply of weapons and bullets.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates and follow BuzzFeed News on Twitter.