Southeastern PA

Suspected gunman called lawyer during standoff in Philadelphia

Police used 'unorthodox' negotiation methods

PHILADELPHIA - A standoff, hostages, and police officers in the line of fire, Philadelphia officials say it was one of the worst situations they've seen in years.

The police commissioner released more details about how authorities safely rescued hostages and eventually convinced the alleged gunman to come outside, more than seven hours after shots first rang out.

Maurice Hill surrendered to police around midnight after keeping the city on edge for hours. Commissioner Richard Ross says it's a miracle no one died and that more people weren't injured.

He praised the bravery and courage of officers and negotiators, and thanked the public for following police instruction.

Several officers entered the home around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday to serve a drug warrant. Gunfire erupted and six officers were shot, authorities said.

Shots continued ringing out for hours as a massive police presence shut down part of the city and officers ducked for cover.

Two police officers and three civilians were trapped inside the home with the active gunman for hours as negotiators tried communicating with the suspect.

He answered the phone several times in the first few hours, but would not speak. Around 8:30 p.m., Hill called his lawyer, Shaka Johnson. Johnson told WFMZ's partner station WPVI that Hill said he was barricaded in a house and wanted to come out. Johnson helped arrange a four-way phone call with the Philadelphia district attorney, Ross, him and Hill.

"As the night went on, we had more lengthy conversations. It was an unusual circumstance, so we took unusual steps for the preservation of life, even his," Ross said Thursday morning.

Ross said he has never been part of negotiations before and hopes he never will again, but said he couldn't leave the scene knowing his officers were inside.

"I couldn't have my police officers trapped like that. I wouldn't be able to live with myself," he said. "I wasn't going to go anywhere. You weren't going to get me to move."

The officers and civilian hostages were safely rescued by SWAT members around 9:20 p.m. Officers eventually used tear gas, ultimately forcing Hill to come outside.

He walked out front with his hands up around midnight and was taken into custody. Ross said he had a gun on his person when he surrendered.

Authorities have to wait until the tear gas dissipates to search the home.

"I thank anyone who wears this uniform because it's only getting tougher," Ross said.

Hill has an extensive criminal history. He was taken from the hospital around 3:30 a.m. in handcuffs.

As for the injured officers, the six shot and three who sustained other injuries have all been released from the hospital.


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