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Philadelphia Shooter Surrenders After 8 Hour Standoff

SubverseAug 16, 2019, 6:57:54 PM

By Tarik Johnson

The suspect who wounded six Nicetown-Tioga area police during an 8 hour standoff on Wednesday evening was identified as Maurice Hill, age 36. Hill has convictions for an array of crimes that include assault, perjury, fleeing and eluding, escape, and weapons offenses. Authorities say Hill had at least a semi-automatic rifle and a handgun when he opened fire on officers serving a drug search warrant. Hill served three stints in state prisons, one of which was a return for a probation violation. He was also hit with a 55-month federal prison term over a pair of convictions for being a felon in possession of firearms.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner was asked at a press conference, what this incident says about the ability of the system to handle a person like Mr. Hill. Krasner responded saying, “The system had multiple contacts with this man, and the system following its policies and its philosophy at those times did things that obviously did not stop this incident.” Krasner added, “I think it also is an illustration of what should be obvious, because it's obvious to us in medicine, it should be obvious in law, that what a lot of us do in law enforcement is risk management, and that there will be, like it or not, occasions where there are bad results.”

According to law enforcement sources and court records, narcotics officers approached the area Wednesday afternoon with a search warrant for a house a few doors down from the site of the shootout. Authorities’ initial target was a home at 3712 N. 15th St. But after surveillance on the block, sources said, officers turned their attention to a nearby house, at 3716 N. 15th St., and soon made the decision to enter it. As soon as strike force officers breached the front door, one team ran upstairs, another for the basement, and a third for the kitchen, where Hill opened fire.

This sent officers running for their lives, and trapped two officers upstairs. Meanwhile, scores of officers rushed to the scene. The trapped officers were able to use a direct radio link with SWAT unit supervisors and provide layouts and conditions in the house. At times, the two officers squeezed into the bathroom with three prisoners to protect themselves from the shots Hill was firing through the floor. They hoped the tile bathroom floor would better protect them. A SWAT team rescued the officers and other hostages about two and a half hours before Hill surrendered. Ross declined to provide details, saying he didn’t want to disclose strategy. Throughout the standoff, sources said the shooter was calling friends and the mother of his child. Multiple people called police to tell them that Maurice Hill was the shooter.

Shaka Johnson, an attorney for Hill, said he first received a call from Hill around 8:30 P.M., hours after the shooting broke out and the officers were shot. “Maurice called me in a panic, obviously. He did not want this to end violently and he really was sort of taking an opportunity to speak his peace. I told him, ‘You gotta surrender, man,'” Johnson told CBS3’s Greg Argos.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said he was surprised that the suspect surrendered, telling reporters at a news conference Thursday morning that the gunman “was indicating to some that he was not going to do that.” Ross said that the tear gas shot into the home ultimately resulted in the suspect ending the standoff. “This was a very dynamic situation, one that I hope we never see again,” he said, adding that he was thankful no civilians or police officers were seriously injured. At around 12:00 AM the suspect walked out of the house with his arms raised in the air.