PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Three Philadelphia police officers were shot and wounded at a home and a suspect was killed early Wednesday when a SWAT team tried to arrest a man wanted on a homicide charge, police said.
The shooting occurred around 6:30 a.m., soon after officers tried to serve a warrant in North Philadelphia, said First Deputy Commissioner John Stanford. The 19-year-old suspect fired at officers through a window as they were attempting to knock on the front door, Stanford said.
Officers entered the house, where the man and officers exchanged gunfire, he said. The man tried to exit the back of the home while firing at officers, who returned fire. He was pronounced dead at a hospital. Police did not immediately release details of his injuries or say how many times he was shot.
District Attorney Larry Krasner identified the suspect as Raheem Lee, who was wanted in the Aug. 21 slaying of Theodore Bell, found dead of gunshot wounds in a vehicle. Krasner said Bell was “connected to” Lee’s family and the shooting appeared to be domestic.
Stanford said Lee was also a suspect in several armed robberies.
One officer was shot in the hip, while another had a leg wound. A third officer was hit in the chest by a bullet that ricocheted off of his Kevlar vest. All three were taken to a hospital and were listed as stable, but their names and further information were not immediately disclosed.
It was unclear how many people were in the home at the time of the shooting. But at least one other person was taken from the scene in handcuffs. Stanford said police don’t believe anyone else was involved in the shooting, but the investigation continues.
“The fact that … there are this many incidents with SWAT officers being fired upon, is not normal. We have come to believe this is a normal course of events. It is not,” Stanford said at a news conference.
The city’s police commissioner, Danielle Outlaw, who is at a conference in Dallas, said in a statement that she was “beyond disgusted” by the violence.
“We are tired of arresting the same suspects over and over again, only to see them right back out on the street to continue and sometimes escalate their criminal ways,” she said. “We are tired of having to send our officers into harm’s way to serve warrants on suspects who have no business being on the street in the first place.”
Outlaw said the entire department “is sickened by what is happening to the people that live, work, and visit our city.”
“Residents are tired of it. Business owners are tired of it. Our children are tired of it,” she said. “We are long past ‘enough is enough.’”