'It's like a war zone': At least 6 Philadelphia police officers shot in 'active and ongoing' standoff

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This is the second major police shooting this week. The first occurred at a California traffic stop. USA TODAY

PHILADELPHIA — A tense standoff was ongoing Wednesday night after six Philadelphia police officers were ambushed by at least one gunman while trying to serve a drug warrant, authorities said.

The situation was “active and ongoing” as of 10:15 p.m. EDT, Philadelphia police Sgt. Eric Gripp tweeted, and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr. stressed that law enforcement was determined to find a peaceful end to the hours-long deadlock.

All six officers who were shot were transported to local hospitals but later released, Gripp said via Twitter. Another officer was admitted for injuries “sustained in a vehicle crash related to the incident,” Gripp said.

Two officers and three hostages who were trapped in the home with the suspect were freed by a SWAT team after 9:30 p.m. EDT.

“Right now, we’ve gone from a hostage situation to a barricade,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr. told reporters, though he cautioned that the situation remained “volatile” and unresolved. “We are very, very lucky with six police officers shot in one incident … It is nothing short of astounding that … we didn’t have more of a tragedy.”

The suspect “has the highest assurance he won’t be harmed if he comes out,” Ross said, adding, “We are trying to get him to come out peacefully.”

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Listen to the Philadelphia Police radio from 4:35 to 5:05 during the shooting of six officers. Photos/ AP. Jenna Miller, The News Journal

Gunshots were heard again at 8:25 p.m., nearly four hours after gunfire began as officers attempted to serve a narcotics warrant.

Residents were lingering in the early evening around the perimeter of the crime scene, an area that is typically busy with shoppers, diners and people returning home from work.

“It’s like a war zone,” Marica Bing said.

“It’s really scary that this is going on in a regular residential area,” Asya Richardson added.

On her way home from work, Kiersten Gray saw helicopters and police cars and decided to stop at the scene.

“This is absolutely insane,” she said.

For Rysheana Hightower, Wednesday’s situation was a terrible reminder: Her brother, Rashid, was shot and killed in the area 14 years ago, she said.

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“The sickness of some of the individuals in the world we live in,” she said. “The world is a sad place.”

Nearby Temple University tweeted updates on the situation, instructing students to seek shelter. Their Health Sciences Center campus was briefly on lockdown.

Sophie Nicholas, a Temple student who lives near the scene, said she was visiting Aurora, Colorado, on the same day in 2012 that a gunman opened fire in a movie theater, killing 12 people and injuring 70 others.

“Why is this still happening?” she asked. “That was so many years ago.”’

When gunfire began in the late afternoon, officers at the scene were told to stay back after at least two officers became trapped inside the home with the shooter, according to scanner audio.

“We are pinned down in the second floor with three individuals handcuffed,” one officer said calmly amidst the chaotic calls. “You can hear the male moving down stairs on the first floor.”

During another round of gunfire, one officer can be heard saying, “The male is reloading, the male is reloading, shots fired inside.”

Another officer says, “That male has a long gun! That male has a long gun!”

President Donald Trump was briefed and “continues to monitor the situation,” the White House said in a statement early Wednesday night.

This is the second major police shooting this week. Three California Highway Patrol officers were shot, one fatally, on Monday after a motorist opened fire during a traffic stop near Interstate 215 in Riverside, California.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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