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Standoff With Gunman In Philadelphia Ends With Six Police Officers Shot

After six officers suffered non-life threatening injuries, the city’s mayor is calling for tougher gun control policies to help law enforcement keep firearms out of the wrong hands.

Police officers serving a narcotics warrant at a house in Philadelphia Wednesday afternoon were caught up in a shootout that led to six officers suffering gunshot wounds and a seventh officer sustaining injuries in a vehicle crash on the way to the scene.

All six officers shot by the suspected gunman were released from the hospital Wednesday night, while the officer in the car accident remained in the hospital Thursday. Richard Ross, the Philadelphia police commissioner, said it was “nothing short of a miracle” that multiple officers were not killed by the suspect, a man with a long criminal history who surrendered to police in the early hours of Thursday morning.

“It was a very dynamic situation, one I hope we never see again,” Ross said Thursday.

In addition to the officers hurt by the suspect, identified by the city’s district attorney as 36-year-old Maurice Hill, two officers were trapped inside the house with three hostages for five hours until a SWAT team freed them from the second floor. Hill had barricaded himself inside the first floor.

Ross made the unusual decision to negotiate with the suspect himself, telling reporters he would not have been able to live with himself if officers inside the house died while he stood just yards away. An attorney who worked with Hill, Shaka Johnson, also spoke with the gunman and told him to surrender.

In a news conference Thursday, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner referred to Hill as “someone who needed to be off the streets” due to his lengthy criminal record and contacts with police. A man with the same name and date of birth served about 2.5 years in prison on drug charges before he was paroled in 2006, and faced other charges including burglary, aggravated assault and taunting a police animal, The Associated Press and CNN reported.

“I think it’s fair to say the criminal justice system, imperfect as it is, did not stop this terrible incident,” Krassner said.

The standoff took place a short distance from Temple University, and children at a nearby day care center remained in lockdown for hours before police escorted them out of the facility.

Jim Kenney, the Philadelphia mayor, called for better gun control policies that would help law enforcement keep firearms out of the wrong hands.

“It’s aggravating, it’s saddening and it’s just something we need to do something about,” Kenney told reporters. “And if the state and federal government don’t want to stand up to the NRA and some other folks, then let us police ourselves. But they preempt us on all kinds of gun control legislation.”

He added: “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.”

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