Six Philadelphia police officers were shot by a gunman Wednesday afternoon after he barricaded himself inside a building in the Tioga-Nicetown neighborhood. Dozens of officers were seen taking cover behind cars as other officers surrounded the building with guns drawn. Authorities have shut down the surrounding blocks and advised people to avoid the area.
The officers were responding to a report about narcotics activity in the area when they came under fire. One witness told WPVI that she heard over 100 gunshots as the officers exchange fire with the suspect.
According to a tweet from Philadelphia police Sergeant Eric Gripp, officers are still attempting to communicate with the shooter who has been firing at law enforcement personnel on the ground. The public is being told to stay away from the "active and ongoing" scene.
"Officers continue to attempt to communicate with suspect; suspect is still firing at officers. STAY AWAY FROM THE AREA," Gripp tweeted.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said officers are concerned about a potential hostage situation, with two officers trapped in the house with the gunman. The two officers and additional prisoners who were inside the home were safely evacuated according to a tweet from Gripp at around 7:33 p.m.
"We believe they’re OK and I’m not going to say much more about that right now out of concern for their safety," Ross said. "We believe that this male is in a certain part of the building. I won’t tell you where they are, where he is, so that I don’t endanger the officers on the scene in any way."
The suspect has shown no sign he intends to surrender, Ross said.
Additional officers are also receiving treatment for non-gunshot related injuries. The officers who were shot have been transported to a local hospital, and their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening. All six officers were released from area hospitals Wednesday evening, Gripp said.
According to a statement from the White House, President Donald Trump has been briefed on the situation and "continues to monitor the situation."