Fri, Aug 16, 2019 - Page 6 News List

US gunman in custody after standoff

NARCOTICS WARRANT:Police officers escaped through doors and windows when the shooting began, and while six were hit, all have been released from hospital

AP, PHILADELPHIA

Police officers monitor activity near a residence while responding to a shooting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday.

Photo: AFP

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

Philadelphia Police Sergeant Eric Gripp early yesterday morning said that the man was taken into custody after an hours-long standoff with police.

The shooting began at about 4:30pm as officers went to a home in a north Philadelphia neighborhood of brick and stone rowhomes 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,” Ross said.

The six officers who were struck by bullets have been released from hospitals, Gripp said.

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 neighborhood.

Three people who officers had 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,” Ross said.

Police implored the gunman to surrender, at one point patching in his lawyer on the telephone with him to try to persuade him to give himself up, Ross said.

“We’re doing everything within our power to get him to come out,” Ross said during the standoff. “He has the highest assurance he’s not going to be harmed when he comes out.”

Police tried to push crowds of onlookers back from the scene.

In police radio broadcasts, officers could be heard calling for backup 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.”

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,” Kenney said.

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