Two police officers held hostage by an active shooter who wounded six Philadelphia police officers earlier on Wednesday have been freed, following a five-hour standoff that remained ongoing at 10:20 p.m. ET, according to a Twitter posting by Philadelphia Police Public Affairs Officer Eric Gripp.
In what police called an “active firefight” beginning at around 4:30 p.m., an as-yet unidentified gunman opened fire on police, wounding six officers, according to a report by Philadelphia TV station WCAU. None of the wounds to the officers are believed to be life-threatening, though one suffered a grazing bullet wound to the head, Police Commissioner Richard Ross told the TV station.
The shooter appears to have barricaded himself inside a home in the mostly residential North Philadelphia neighborhood of Nicetown-Tioga. Police earlier attempted to phone into the house and speak to the shooter but were unsuccessful, according to NBC News correspondent Tom Winter, reporting via Twitter.
The suspect has been identified as male, but no further details appear known about him. But according to freelance journalist Matthew Keys, reporting via Twitter, the shooter live streamed at least some segments of his gunfight and standoff with police via the social media site Snapchat. Police have asked Snapchat and other social media platforms to disable the shooter’s posts.
The shooting began when officers attempted to enter the home and execute a search warrant as part of a narcotics investigation, according to an ABC News report. ABC News also reported that two officers who were inside the home with the gunman had been “safely removed,” but no details were available as to how the hostage cops were freed after five hours inside the house.
A Reuters report, however, said that the two officers were rescued by a SWAT team.
Shortly after 10 p.m., Ross announced that all six wounded police officers had been treated and released from a nearby hospital, while Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney immediately called for tighter gun control laws to prevent such shootings.
VIDEO: Philadelphia police chief says all officers who were shot and injured have been released from hospital; Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney calls for tougher gun control [WPVI] pic.twitter.com/NChuEjKcnm
— Matthew Keys (@MatthewKeysLive) August 15, 2019
Ross also said that three civilians were safely rescued from the house by the SWAT team, according to the WCAU report.
“SWAT was able to successfully extract the two police officers that were trapped upstairs, as well as three prisoners,” Ross said, as quoted by the Philadelphia TV station. “They were all taken out safely thus far.”
Incredible video tonight out of Philadelphia https://t.co/C4hMZG3O92
— Ben Goldman (@BenGoldmanTV) August 15, 2019
The shooter remained armed and inside the house as the evening hour moved toward 11 p.m., according to a Twitter statement by Gripp, who urged Philadelphia residents to continue avoiding the area, on the 3700 block of North 15th Street in Philadelphia.