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A dramatic shootout in Philadelphia stretched on for hours into the night Wednesday as six officers were shot — and two officers and three hostages were later freed, apparently unhurt.
The gunman remained inside the house and the situation was “not completely resolved,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross told reporters late Wednesday.
One of the wounded officers reportedly was grazed in the head in the ongoing shootout in the city’s Nicetown neighborhood that began on Wednesday afternoon.
Three officers were rushed to Temple University Hospital, officials told Fox 29.
Three other officers were taken to Einstein Hospital, at least one of them was shot in the arm. All six officers were in stable condition and treated for non-life threatening injuries before doctors released them, Philadelphia Police Sgt. Eric Gripp said.
UPDATE: ALL six officers who were shot have been released from area hospitals. One Officer is being admitted for injuries sustained in a vehicle crash related to the incident. Situation remains active and ongoing.
— Eric Gripp (@PPDEricGripp) August 15, 2019
“Fortunately, everybody is going to be okay,” Ross said, even as the shooter refused to surrender to officers during ongoing negotiations.
He called the outcome “nothing short of a miracle that we don’t have multiple officers killed today. We are so thankful for that.”
Two other officers, including a police sergeant, were injured in an accident related to the emergency response and were being treated for non-life threatening injuries.
Ross said two officers with the Narcotics Strike Force were serving a warrant at the multifamily home — in what may have been a drug-related offense — when things “went awry almost immediately,” and the shooter opened fire at the home. The two officers were barricaded in separate rooms with several hostages.
After five hours of enduring consistent gunfire, the two officers were safely evacuated, although the suspect remained armed and inside the house, according to Gripp.
Update: 2 PPD Officers who were in house with shooter have been safely evacuated by PPD SWAT. Suspect is still armed and inside house. Continue to avoid the area.
— Eric Gripp (@PPDEricGripp) August 15, 2019
Hostage negotiators and a SWAT team were on the scene.
“Officers are attempting to communicate with the shooter; imploring him to surrender and avoid further injuries,” Gripp tweeted.
Officers are attempting to communicate with the shooter; imploring him to surrender and avoid further injuries.
— Eric Gripp (@PPDEricGripp) August 14, 2019
Ross said that some suspects “were taken into custody initially and there may be someone in custody inside [the building] but there’s no indication that the shooter is trying to surrender.” He added that police were confident the shooter was still alive given the frequency of shots still being fired, but police have not been able to speak to the shooter after nearly four hours of negotiations.
Law enforcement officials continued to make repeated attempts to talk to the shooter, communicating over a loudspeaker as well as trying to reach him by phone, Ross said. Police also were trying to work with a person close to the shooter to make contact with him, but the suspect answered the phone but didn’t speak. Fox News has learned that that liaison was the shooter’s girlfriend.
“He continues to fire rounds out of a window,” Ross said.
The SWAT team initially attempted to enter the building but were forced to retreat because of heavy gunfire through the first-floor ceiling up towards a higher floor of the building, as well as out the window, a law enforcement official told Fox News.
Hundreds of rounds of gunfire could be heard throughout the afternoon. The gunman was armed with an AR-15 and several handguns, officials told Fox News.
— Global News Network (@GlobalNews77) August 14, 2019
Ross said many rounds of ammunition struck the SWAT truck and buildings across the street and “right now we’re not sure” if it’s just one shooter.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said he’s “angry about someone having all that weaponry and all that firepower.”
Officials negotiating with the suspect tried to assure him that he would not be harmed if he surrendered, to no avail.
“We’re just trying to do as much as we can to resolve this peacefully,” Ross said, adding that it’s a “very volatile situation that is still unfolding.”
Ross later said that the shooter’s attorney was on a three-way call along with law enforcement, trying to persuade the suspect that he would not be harmed if he surrendered.
Four women who were on the second floor of the building as the shootout continued were rescued by police officers and led to safety.
“I thank God for these cops. They’re good people. Don’t say nothing bad about them, they kept us safe the whole time,” one of the women told KYW-TV.