Police officers had gone to the alleged gunman's house to serve a drug warrant when they came under fire. Six officers were wounded and two had to be rescued by SWAT officers.

By Ian Horswill

Posted on August 15, 2019

A man who live-streamed himself on Facebook shooting six police officers with a rifle is in custody after barricading himself in a house in Philadelphia for several hours.

The shootings happened as the officers tried to serve a drug warrant in the neighbourhood of Nicetown-Tioga in north Philadelphia, and the stand-off is extending into the night, authorities said.

Two other Philadelphia police officers were trapped inside the house for about five hours after the shooting broke out but were freed by a SWAT team after darkness fell on the residential neighbourhood.

It is believed one suspect had been taken into custody earlier but the gunman, 34-year-old Maurice Hill, remained barricaded in the house. He was taken into custody in the early hours of Thursday (local time) after being told he would not be hurt if he surrendered. Hill has drug convictions stretching back to 2003.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney called for more gun control, saying the city’s police officers need help keeping weapons out of the hands of criminals.

“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.

“It’s disgusting and we got to do something about it and we need to do something about it quickly,” he said.

None of the officers’ injuries was considered life-threatening and they are being treated at Einstein Medical and Temple Hospital Philadelphia police Sgt. Eric Gripp said, AP News reported.

The shooting began around 4.30pm (US time) as police officers went to the home in an operation “that went awry almost immediately,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said.

Many officers “had to escape through windows and doors to get (away) from a barrage of bullets,” Ross said.

Ross said all steps were being taken to bring the shooter out of the property alive. At one point, the officers arranged for the man’s lawyer to try and persuade him to surrender.

“We’re doing everything within our power to get him to come out. He has the highest assurance he’s not going to be harmed when he comes out,” he said.

Police Commissioner Richard Ross

Temple University locked down part of its campus, and several children and staff were trapped for some time in a nearby daycare, CNN reported.

Shots were still being fired three hours later and officers returned fire.

“It’s nothing short of a miracle that we don’t have multiple officers killed today,” Ross said.

Off-duty medic Abdul Rahman Muhammad, 21, said he was heading upstairs.

“There were people running back downstairs who said that there was someone up there shooting cops. There was just a lot of screaming and chaos.”

Dozens of Philadelphia officers on foot have lined the streets. There were scores of police vehicles, including armoured vehicles, and some on horseback.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said its agents responded to the scene to assist Philadelphia police.

President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr were briefed on the shooting, officials said.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said he was thankful that officers’ injuries weren’t life-threatening.

“I’m a little angry about someone having all that weaponry and all that firepower, but we’ll get to that another day,” Kenney said.