Ross describes harrowing rescue of 2 cops trapped in Nicetown home with gunman

Kristen Johanson
August 16, 2019 - 4:00 am

Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It took Philadelphia police five hours to pull out two officers stuck inside the home where the alleged gunman Maurice Hill was firing at police. The police commissioner detailed the harrowing escape at a press conference Thursday. 

"When you know you have two police officers who are trapped along with civilians upstairs, along with a gunman who's already shown you, even while I was present, that he was willing to fire at police, you are worried about getting people out safely, and you don't know how you are going to do that," said Police Commissioner Richard Ross.

For the five hours the two officers were stuck there, Ross said his heart was racing.

"Didn't know whether they were alive or at gunpoint, and that would have forced an entirely different situation. Or, worse yet, if we knew this individual decided to charge the steps," he said. 

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They were constantly speaking with the pair as the team tried to figure out how they would get them out. 

"To have one of the more experienced supervisors tell me rather candidly, 'While we can clearly go inside, we are going to come under gunfire.'  I just had six officers shot. I mean, immediately, had to reassess that, knowing everything I just told you about the officers being OK, and not wanting to make it a more volatile situation than it already was." 

He said at times, they didn't know whether the shooter knew if they were there and what his next move would be. Ross said the communication with them was key. 

"One of the things that I am just amazed by, is the ability of those two officers to remain calm for as long as they did, for hours," Ross added. 

Eventually they brought in specialized equipment to get them out, and the two were unharmed.