'Take Shelter, Be Silent': Panic As Gunman Shoots Multiple Police Officers
Six police officers have been injured during an ongoing shooting in the North Philadelphia neighbourhood of Tioga-Nicetown.
Officers were carrying out a drug raid late on Wednesday afternoon (local time) when a gunman opened fire.
The suspect barricaded himself inside the home as dozens of police cars, armoured vehicles and police in tactical gear surrounded the building.
Some officers were forced to escape through windows of the property, while two others were trapped inside with the shooter for five hours.
At least six officers were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds, two were hit in the arm, one in the head.
All were released from hospital on Wednesday night.
A seventh was injured in a car crash while heading to the scene and has been admitted to hospital for further treatment.
Negotiators desperately tried to communicate with the shooter, but the gunman refused to respond -- picking up the phone without answering.
"Despite several attempts to talk to him -- both on the loudspeaker and on the telephone -- we have been not been able to make contact with them thus far," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross told reporters.
"We are trying to get him to come out peacefully, but he is refusing to do so," he continued, explaining that officers had been working with a family member of the suspect in the hopes of reasoning with him.
Four women were escorted from the neighbourhood, telling CBS Philadelphia that they were on the second floor of the building with the suspect -- all escaped injury.
"I thank God for these cops," one said.
Children from nearby childcare centres were evacuated, while a local university was sent into locked down.
"Seek shelter. Secure doors. Be Silent. Be Still," the university tweeted.
Media was warned to back off as helicopters "hindered operations", while drone users were told to stay far away after they too caused complications.
One woman told ABC Philadelphia station WPVI that she heard over 100 gunshots and saw people running for their lives.
"I heard so many gunshots that I got scared and I lifted my window up to see what was going on and I leapt out of the house because I was scared," she said.
More than seven hours later the shooter was taken into custody.
The incident follows two mass shootings in the US earlier this month that left 31 people dead.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney told the media on Wednesday night that it was time for more gun control.
"It's just something that we need to do something about it," Kenney said, "And if the state and federal government don't want to stand up to the NRA and some other folks, then let us, let us police ourselves."
"Our officers deserve to be protected and don't deserve to be shot at by a guy for hours with an unlimited supply of weapons and an unlimited supply of bullets,” Kenney said.
“It's disgusting and we [have] to do something about it and we need to do something about it quickly,” he said.