At least six police officers were shot in an rapidly unfolding gun battle in the northern Philadelphia neighborhood of Nicetown-Tioga on Wednesday, authorities confirmed.
The officers were taken to nearby hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries, Sgt. Eric Gripp of the Philadelphia Police Department tweeted. Three additional officers sustained non-gunshot-related injuries, according to WPVI-TV.
Gripp tweeted that a suspect or suspects were firing at the police. He urged people to avoid the area, and told media helicopters to pull back and stop broadcasting officers’ tactical positions.
Gripp tweeted that police are “attempting to communicate with the shooter; imploring him to surrender and avoid further injuries.”
Local media outlets showed harrowing images and videos of a massive police presence inundating the neighborhood, with heavily armed officers — some in tactical gear — ducking and taking cover behind buildings and cars.
Gunfire could be heard throughout live broadcasts and bullets could be seen spraying out of a home, ricocheting off the surrounding buildings.
One officer could be seen rushing into a police cruiser, his arm drenched in blood.
Tens of thousands of listeners tuned in to Philadelphia’s police scanner online as first responders’ on-the-ground narratives of the incident unfolded. The details from the scanners remained unconfirmed by officials.
The local CBS affiliate reported that officers were first called to the scene Wednesday afternoon for reports of narcotics activity. The officers were trying to serve a warrant when gunfire broke out, WPVI reported.
Nearby, Temple University’s Health Sciences Center campus was placed on lockdown, the school tweeted, advising those in the building to “be still” and “seek shelter.”
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolfe said via Twitter that he was monitoring the situation and “offered support to local law enforcement.”
“Praying for the recovery of the police officers who were injured in the line of duty and the safety of others responding to this incident,” Wolfe tweeted.
President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr were reportedly briefed on the shooting, according to representatives from the White House and the Justice Department respectively.
Some 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are weighing in on the situation via Twitter.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.