Six Philadelphia police officers were shot in a rapidly escalating standoff on Wednesday afternoon with at least one active shooter at a home about two miles north of Temple University, the authorities said.
The officers were taken to area hospitals with what the police described as non-life-threatening injuries. Additional officers were also being treated for “non-gunshot injuries,” Sgt. Eric Gripp of the Philadelphia Police Department said on Twitter.
SWAT teams converged on a residence in the Nicetown-Tioga section of the city, and the shooting began around 4:30 p.m. It prompted a lockdown of Temple University’s Health Sciences Center Campus.
Sergeant Gripp said the situation was “active and ongoing.”
Police officers were trying to serve a narcotics warrant at a house in the 3700 block of North 15th Street when the shooting began, according to the mayor’s office.
Heather Logan, 47, who lives on 15th Street about a block from the shooting, said she dived for safety when the shots started.
“We were ducking behind cars,” she said. “It was like Beirut out here for a little bit.”
Vernon Fields, the chef at Tasteful Sensations Seafood and Soul Food, said that he went outside to see what was going on and heard gunshots coming from several blocks away.
“We smelled the gunfire,” he said. “We saw people running down the street — police officers ducking and getting their weapons out.”
Four or five gunshots could be heard around 5:45 p.m. A police officer at the perimeter of the scene was reaching toward his gun holster shortly after the shots were fired. Two more bursts of shots rang out after 6 p.m.
The city’s mayor, Jim Kenney, visited two of the hospitals where the wounded officers were taken, Temple University Hospital and Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia, according to a mayoral spokeswoman.
The shooting of six police officers drew the attention of President Trump as well as Attorney General William P. Barr.
“The president has been briefed on the shooting in Philadelphia and continues to monitor the situation,” Hogan Gidley, a White House spokesman, said in a statement.
Abi Oshogbo, 39, who lives less than three blocks from the scene, said she was most concerned about a day care center close to the site of the shooting that she said has been locked down by police. She said her niece was in the building. She said that she didn’t know how many children were inside but that the center covered three floors.
“This is my community” she said. “My niece attends that day care. We have to make sure the children get out safe.”
As a resident of the Nicetown section, she said, she hears shots occasionally — but nothing like as many as she heard today.
Aerial camera footage showed a large police presence at the scene. But the police urged media helicopters to pull back from the area, saying that they were hindering operations.
“Lockdown is in effect for Health Sciences Center Campus,” Temple University said on Twitter. “Seek shelter. Secure doors. Be silent. Be still. Police are responding.”
The shooting came two days after a gun battle in Southern California left one California Highway Patrol officer dead and two others injured.
Michael Borenstein, a dean of the Temple University School of Pharmacy, said that he had received a university alert on his phone telling him that the Health Sciences Center Campus was on lockdown. “We’re watching for multiple shooters. People are sitting at their desk doing work and others are following along on the internet.”
Jon Hurdle and Heather Murphy contributed reporting.