A gunman who police say shot six city officers was in custody Thursday after surrendering to end a dramatic, 7 ½-hour standoff during which two officers were trapped in the rowhouse where the suspect was firing away.
Shots were first fired about 4:30 p.m. when narcotics officers tried to serve an arrest warrant at the house in the 3700 block of North 15th Street in the Tioga section of North Philadelphia.
Two Narcotics Strike Force bicycle officers were pinned on the second floor with three other people who were handcuffed, police said. The officers were not injured but they and the three people in custody were at risk of getting shot because the suspect on the first floor was firing into the ceiling. A SWAT team reached the five and removed from the building about 2 ½ hours before the suspect surrendered.
None of the six officers who were shot suffered life-threatening injuries and all were treated at hospitals and released, police said. At least three other officers sustained non-shooting injuries during the standoff. The gunman was briefly hospitalized, then jailed, after the standoff.
President Donald Trump weighed in on the shootout Thursday morning, saying the alleged gunman “should never have been allowed to be on the streets.”
“He had a long and very dangerous criminal record,” he wrote in the tweet. “Looked like he was having a good time after his capture, and after wounding so many police. Long sentence — must get much tougher on street crime!”
Police identified the suspect as Maurice Hill, a 36-year-old Philadelphia man with alengthy history of gun convictions and of resisting attempts to bring him to justice.
President Trump was briefed on the incident Wednesday.
Police Commissioner Ross said Thursday morning that he personally took part in negotiations to get the gunman, identified as Maurice Hill, 36, to surrender.
“This was the first time, and I hope it is the last time,” Ross said of his unusual foray into negotiating with a barricaded gunman.
Ross said Hill rebuffed initial attempts by police to negotiate, but was using his phone to talk to other people, including his girlfriend with whom he recently had a daughter.
Ross said he asked the police negotiator if it would help if he talked to Hill and the negotiator agreed.
The negotiator instructed Ross on what questions to ask throughout his communications with the gunman, the commissioner said.
Hill, he said, spoke of his newborn daughter and his criminal record. Hill also made “outlandish” but unspecified demands.
“But we weren’t going to lie to him and tell him we were going to acquiesce to what he wanted, because that’s not what you do either because that creates problems as well,” he said.
Still, Ross said, despite the negotiations it was the “the tear gas that ultimately brought him outside.”
Shaka Johnson, the lawyer of suspected gunman Maurice Hill, told FOX 29 on Thursday he was unaware his client was involved in the shootout until Hill called him at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Johnson, a former police officer, said at one point, he was involved in a four-way conversation that included Hill, Police Commissioner Richard Ross, and District Attorney Larry Krasner.