Multiple police officers shot in active hostage situation in North Philly
Philadelphia Police urged people to leave the area of the shooting. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)
This is a breaking news story and will be updated as more information becomes available. As often happens in situations like these, some information reported early may turn out to be inaccurate. We’ll move quickly to correct the record and we’ll only point to the best information we have at the time. Last update: 10:41 p.m.
At least six Philadelphia police officers were shot in a gunfight in North Philly on Wednesday afternoon, city officials confirmed.
The situation reportedly started when narcotics officers attempted to serve a warrant. After that, a shooter or shooters began firing, emptying multiple rounds from inside a Nicetown rowhome and taking hostages. Two police officers became trapped inside with the shooter, according to officials. Across the street from the scene, a daycare was on lockdown with more than 50 children inside.
“It’s crazy out here,” said resident Marisa Bing, who was coming home from work when she saw a woman running down the street. “And then we seen all the cops. Nothing’s running. No trains, no buses. Stores is closed. You couldn’t even move your car.”
Authorities stand outside a house as they investigate an active shooting situation, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019, in the Nicetown neighborhood of Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Neighbors reported hearing hundreds of gunshots ring out over the course of at least two hours.
As of 10:30 p.m., the situation was still not resolved, according to Police Sergeant Eric Gripp, who said all six officers who’d been hospitalized were released and recovering. Three prisoners and the two trapped officers had been freed, according to Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross
“We are very, very lucky” that none of the officers was killed, Ros said. Earlier in the evening he discussed the ongoing situation: “Trying to talk to this male,” Ross said, “[as] he continues to fire rounds out of the window.”
Dozens of police cars, vans and trucks zoomed up both lanes of North Broad Street just after 4:30 p.m. in response to initial shots fired. Later called to the scene were ATF special agents and a SWAT team.
A police officer patrols the block near a house as they investigate an active shooting situation, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019, in the Nicetown neighborhood of Philadelphia. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)
“I’m a little angry about someone having all that weaponry and having all that firepower, but we’ll get to that another day,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said from Temple University Hospital, where some of the injured officers were being treated. “It’s all about the officers and their families right now, and god bless them, and god save them all.”
The situation led to a seriously massive PPD presence near a residential intersection near Broad and Erie. Officers crouched behind cars, blocked off surrounding streets and cordoned off several nearby homes as the active shooting unfolded.
Police officers, at least nine, were treated for non-life-threatening injuries at Temple and Einstein hospitals. One officer was reportedly injured in a crash on the way to the scene.
Reacting to the situation, at least eight 2020 presidential candidates shared their thoughts, prayers and perspectives on policy.
As the sun went down, heavy thunderstorms were also closing in on the area.
Heavily armed police officers patrol the perimeter of the shooting scene. (Emma Lee/WHYY)
Kids were trapped, Temple health campus was locked down
Young children were trapped for several hours in two nearby daycares, called Precious Babies Learning Academy and Shake, Rattle & Roll Learning Center. Kids were evacuated safely just after 7:15 p.m., and parents and guardians were told to meet them a few blocks away on Germantown Avenue, where they boarded off-duty SEPTA buses.
Police evacuate children from the Precious Babies Learning Academy and Shake, Rattle & Roll Learning Center. (Emma Lee/WHYY)
“It’s a scary situation…,” said Amanda, who declined to give her last name. She said her son was at one of the daycares. “He was there when it happened. I was at work when they had called me… They said that there were shooting and they had the kids on lockdown and stuff.”
Temple’s Health Sciences campus was put under a two-hour lockdown starting at 5 p.m., with university officials instructing people to stay silent, still and away from windows. Multiple sources indicated that one of the shooters was livestreaming from inside the house as they battled police.
Reports suggest that narcotics officers were serving a warrant on the 3700 block of North 15th Street when the incident began.
About an hour into the episode, Sgt. Eric Gripp tweeted that media should “stop broadcasting tactical positions of officers,” as law enforcement tried to bring the situation under control.
“The suspect is still firing,” Gripp posted repeatedly throughout the evening. “Continue to avoid area.”
The altercation caused numerous public transit detours and street closures. The Broad Street Line bypassed Hunting Park, Erie and Allegheny stations in both directions, and SEPTA bus routes 23, 53, 56, H and XH were detoured.
WHYY is the leading public media station serving the Philadelphia region, including Delaware, South Jersey and Pennsylvania. This story originally appeared on WHYY.org.