As a gunman traded shots with officers, injuring several and holding multiple people hostage in a hours-long standoff with Philadelphia police on Wednesday, the city’s mayor decried the nation’s gun problem and called out lawmakers for failing to stand up to the National Rifle Association.
Speaking to reporters during the standoff — which dragged on for eight tense hours in the Nicetown-Tioga neighborhood of North Philadelphia after police attempted to serve a drug warrant — Mayor Jim Kenney expressed fury at the staggering amount of “weaponry” and “firepower” the suspect appeared to possess.
“Our officers need help. They need help with gun control. They need help with keeping these weapons out of these people’s hands,” Kenney told reporters at an outdoor news conference, getting soaked in the falling rain.
“Our officers deserve to be protected and they don’t deserve to be shot at by a guy for hours with an unlimited supply of weapons and an unlimited supply of bullets,” he later added. “It’s disgusting and we got to do something about it ... we need to do something about it quickly.”
Philadelphia police said early Thursday that the suspect had been taken into custody after refusing for hours to surrender.
The gunman shot and injured six police officers earlier in the day — all six of whom were treated in area hospitals and then released, police spokesman Sgt. Eric Gripp said. The assailant also held two officers and a number of other prisoners hostage before releasing them on Wednesday night, per Gripp.
Police have not revealed the suspect’s identity and it’s unclear what weapons and ammunition were used during the skirmish. WPVI-TV reported that several rounds of gunfire continued for over an hour at one point during the confrontation.
One woman in the neighborhood told the station that she heard “over 100 gunshots.”
“I heard so many gunshots... I’m scared,” she told WPVI.
During the news conference, Kenney deplored the gun crisis in America as “aggravating” and “saddening” and accused the federal government and state lawmakers of not wanting “to stand up to the NRA.”
“This government, both on federal and state level, don’t want to do anything about getting these guns off the streets and getting them out of the hands of criminals,” Kenney said.