(PHILADELPHIA) — Six Philadelphia police officers have been shot by at least one gunman who authorities say is firing at them in an ongoing shooting incident, according to the police department.
Police cars were seen speeding toward the scene in the North Philadelphia neighborhood of Tioga-Nicetown as armored vehicles and police in tactical gear converged on a street. About a dozen officers were seen taking cover behind cars as other officials surrounded a home with guns drawn.
The suspect barricaded himself inside a building on 15th Street, police said. The shootout began during a narcotics operation at around 4:30 p.m. when officers entered the home to serve a search warrant and were met with gunfire. Some officers had to escape through windows and two were trapped inside with the shooter for several hours, police said. The trapped officers were safely removed from the home as of 9:30 p.m.
The injuries to the officers appear to be non-life threatening, police said, adding that an additional injury occurred due to an auto accident. The officers were struck in various parts of their bodies and one had a graze wound to the head.
Several rounds of gunfire continued for more than an hour, ABC Philadelphia station WPVI reported. Officers repeatedly commanded the shooter to “Come out with your hands up,” according to the station.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross spoke at press conference from the scene of the standoff late Wednesday, pleading for the shooter to turn himself in.
“We are trying to talk to this male, trying to let him know that he can end this peacefully now,” Ross said. “We have called him multiple times. He’s picked up the phone a couple times, but he has not answered.
He said officers have been working with a family member of the suspect in an effort to reason with the shooter.
“Despite several attempts to talk to him — both on the loudspeaker and on telephone — we have been not been able to make contact with them thus far,” Ross said. “This is a very volatile situation that is still unfolding, so as a result there’s only so much I can tell you about what’s going on inside of that property.”
One woman said she heard over 100 gunshots and saw people running for their lives.
“I heard so many gunshots… I’m scared,” she told WPVI.
Agents from ATF (the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) are at the scene to assist, a spokesperson said.
Philadelphia Police Sgt. Eric Gripp urged residents to avoid the area.
Temple University’s Health Sciences Center Campus was put on lockdown.
“Seek shelter. Secure doors. Be silent. Be still. Police are responding,” the university tweeted.
This story is developing. Please check back for more updates.
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