“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.
Two officers remained inside after the shooting broke out, Ross said. They were still trapped in a different portion of the building as of 8:30 pm ET, and the shooter was continuing to fire.
“We believe they’re OK,” he said of the trapped officers. “He continues to fire rounds out the window, so this situation is in no way resolved.” He added buildings across the street and the department’s SWAT car have been struck by gunfire.
Shots were first reported at about 4:30 p.m., Sgt. Eric Gripp of the Philadelphia Police Department said in a tweet.
The shooting occurred 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.
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. The suspect has picked up the phone, but has not spoken to officers.
The six officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries, Ross said, including one who was grazed in the head by a bullet.
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 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.”
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