PHILADELPHIA -

A police officer was grazed by a bullet in an exchange of gunfire that left a suspect dead early Tuesday in northeast Philadelphia, police said.

Officers responding to a report of a person with a gun in the city's Tacony section shortly before 1 a.m. Tuesday spotted a suspect, who began firing at several officers as soon as they arrived, hitting a police van, authorities said.

Officer Steve Korpalski, a 14-year-veteran, was grazed in the head by a bullet.

"A half-inch over and we'd be planning a funeral now," said Commissioner Charles Ramsey.

Korpalski was later released from the hospital.

The suspect, David Ellis, was hit multiple times by the officers' return fire and later died at a hospital.

Ellis, 29, has a history with police dating back to 2000, officials said.

The suspect's weapon, a .32 caliber revolver, was recovered at the scene, where yellow evidence markers dotted the street marking bullets, shell casings and fragments.

"It's something that unfortunately does happen periodically," Ramsey said. "We have some pretty brazen criminals, and our officers, that's what we do. We send them in harm's way. We put them in the toughest areas to go after the people that are causing a lot of harm out here in our community."

Korpalski is married with a three-week-old daughter, police said.