At least six police officers have been shot in a standoff that unfolded in a northern Philadelphia neighborhood early Wednesday evening, a police department spokesman said.
“Shooting situation ACTIVE and ONGOING,” said Philadelphia Police Sergeant Eric Gripp on Twitter shortly after 5 p.m. “Avoid Area. Several PPD Officers have been injured.”
In two more tweets less than an hour later, Gripp said that the shooting was “still active” and that the suspect “is still firing.”
Dramatic live footage from media helicopters showed scores of officers swarming a home in the residential Nicetown-Tioga neighborhood. They crouched behind cars and appeared to exchange fire with someone inside the house.
On the ground, reporters’ microphones picked up sounds of gunshots. Multiple officers could be seen being carried into police vehicles and transported from the scene.
Authorities have not yet provided details about what led to the shootout. Local media reported that officers were attempting to serve a warrant at the house and were greeted by gunfire.
One officer was shot in the head, but is “conscious and communicating,” police told the Philadelphia Inquirer. A second officer was hit in one or both arms, and the rest suffered unknown gunshot wounds.
Additional officers were also receiving treatment for non-gunshot injuries, Gripp said, adding that all wounds were “non-life-threatening.” The officers were transported to the nearby Temple University Hospital.
At least one suspect is in custody, police told a local NBC affiliate.
Temple issued a lockdown for its Health Sciences Center Campus and advised anyone there to “Seek shelter. Secure doors. Be silent. Be still.”
In interviews with other local television channels, residents, crowding the streets behind police barricades, described a frightening, chaotic scene punctuated by repeated volleys of gunfire and wafts of gunpowder.
“It was like a war – like a scene that you see in war,” a woman who lives in the neighborhood told NBC. “The guns, the fire, the noise – it was like bombs going off simultaneously at a time where people are having dinner.”
(c) 2019, The Washington Post · Reis Thebault, Michael Brice-Saddler