Posted For: Willie Wonka
Three Philadelphia SWAT officers were shot and wounded and a teen murder suspect was killed Wednesday morning while officers attempted to serve an arrest warrant, police said.
The officers were hit by gunfire as they attempted to knock on the front door of a home in the city’s West Poplar neighborhood around 6:30 a.m., First Deputy Commissioner John Stanford said.
The 19-year-old suspect, whose name was not released, fired at the cops through a window, Stanford said.
The teen — who was wanted for a homicide that occurred in August — then continued to squeeze off rounds as officers entered the home, returning gunfire.
One officer was struck in the hip and another in the leg. 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 disclosed.
The 19-year-old suspect was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead, Stanford said.
Police did not release details of his injuries or say how many times he had been shot. The department also did not release details of the August killing.
“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 Wednesday.
The incident underscored the gun violence epidemic in the City of Brotherly Love, where murders have soared since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Philadelphia police had reported 424 homicides in 2022 through Wednesday, marking a 2% decrease from last year’s record-high murder rate, but a 58% increase since 2019.
In comparison, New York City — home to nearly six times as many people as Philly — has recorded 334 murders so far this year.
The issue of crime in Pennsylvania had taken center stage in the contest for the state’s hotly contested US Senate seat, now held by retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey.
Republican candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz, the television personality, had recently gained ground in the polls against Democratic candidate John Fetterman, whom he has branded “soft on crime” in political attacks.
Oz, 62 had pointed to Fetterman’s prior endorsement of progressive Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, who is facing impeachment by state GOP lawmakers over his “willful refusal … to enforce existing laws.”
Fetterman, 53, the state’s lieutenant governor, shot back at Oz’s claims during a campaign stop in Philly on Tuesday, championing a stretch of six murder-free years he served as mayor of Braddock, a small town outside Pittsburgh, and doubling down on his work as an advocate for wrongfully convicted criminals, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer
Fetterman’s 9 percentage-point summertime lead over the Donald Trump-backed political novice had recently shrunk to 3.7 percentage points, according to Real Clear Average, and the race — once an assured win for Democrats — was now a “toss-up,” the Cook Report said last week.