August 15, 2019 / 4:56 AM / 4 days ago

Suspect in Philadelphia shooting standoff taken into custody

(Reuters) - A suspect was taken into custody early on Thursday after a seven-hour armed standoff at a Philadelphia home in which six police officers were wounded in a barrage of bullets.

The gunman had barricaded himself inside the home as police urged him to surrender. News media outlets reported he was armed with a semi-automatic rifle and several handguns.

Police moved in about five hours into the standoff, which began after the gunman opened fire on officers as they served a drugs warrant in the city’s Nicetown-Tioga neighborhood.

The suspect surrendered, hands held high in the air, local news broadcasts showed after midnight, and was taken into custody, police said.

SWAT teams were still securing the home after midnight, police spokesman Eric Gripp said. All six wounded officers had been released from the hospital.

A SWAT team rescued two police officers and three civilians who had been trapped in the house, police said.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, citing police sources, identified the suspected gunman as Maurice Hill, 36, a Philadelphia man with a history of gun, drugs and assault convictions.

U.S. President Donald Trump said the suspect had a long and very dangerous criminal record and that he should never have been allowed to be on the streets.

“Looked like he was having a good time after his capture, and after wounding so many police,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Long sentence - must get much tougher on street crime!”

Attorney Shaka Mzee Johnson, who, court documents show, recently represented Hill, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But Johnson told a local CBS affiliate that Hill called him around 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday “in a panic”.

“I told him, ‘You gotta surrender man’,” Johnson told the TV station.

The Inquirer also reported that police allowed Johnson to talk to Hill at the scene with a megaphone and telephone. He also approached the front door.

The incident followed deadly mass shootings in California, Texas and Ohio, in which gunmen used semi-automatic rifles.

Slideshow (21 Images)

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said he was angry the gunman was able to amass such firepower.

“We’ve got to get these weapons out of people’s hands,” Kenney said after visiting wounded officers in the hospital.

Reporting by Andrew Hay, additional reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis and Rich McKay; Editing by Alison Williams and Jonathan Oatis

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