Southeastern PA

Philadelphia police commissioner surprised standoff did not end violently

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - The city of Philadelphia is still reeling from Wednesday afternoon's violence.

Six officers were shot while trying to serve a narcotics warrant, and the gunfire rang out for hours. Local, state and federal officials are once again calling for gun control.

During a Thursday afternoon press conference, Police Commissioner Richard Ross said the alleged shooter, identified as Maurice Hill, 36, told him he had an "extensive" arrest record and wasn't going back to jail.

Ross admitted to being surprised the ending didn't turn violent.

Ross says Hill used an AR-15 assault rifle to shoot six officers Wednesday night in the Tioga-Nicetown section of the city, but he couldn't say how many rounds were fired or how many times Hill reloaded.

"This was an incident unlike anything I've seen in my 30 years, with that many officers struck by gunfire," Ross said.

Basketballs and bikes, a typical summer street scene, were shadowed by police tape.

Nearby residents like Yvetee Evans are still trying to come to grips with the violence that erupted in the neighborhood.

"It's not good, it's not good. We got to start putting more love in the community," she said.

Officers went door to door offering food and checking on residents, as remnants of tear gas remain.

"I'm grateful the young man surrendered and nobody was killed," said Lisa Hancock.

Hancock was one of the employees of the nearby Shake Rattle and Role Learning Center who watched over 20 kids during the shooting.

"We were just trying to keep them happy and fine and going to be safe in our arms," she said.

In total, nine officers were hurt, with three being injured on the way to the scene. However, no one else was wounded, including the the suspect. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney praised the department in an afternoon press conference.

"In the face of what could have been a horrific tragedy, the incident marks one of the finest moments of the Philadelphia Police Department." Kenney said.

Hill "was able to get these weapons and a large magazine, and a large amount of bullets," he said.

As the neighborhood tries to recover, Governor Tom Wolf, U.S. Senator Bob Casey and other officials called for immediate gun reform, including background checks and a ban on assault weapons.

"We've got to start with figuring out ways of getting guns out of the hands of people like the jerk who shot six officers," Wolf said.

Governor Wolf was set to sign an executive order Thursday on gun reform but postponed it until Friday.

It includes two dozen initiatives and reforms, as well as a call to state legislatures to make gun law changes.


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