PHILADELPHIA -- Three SWAT officers serving an arrest warrant were wounded and a suspect was killed after gunfire erupted Wednesday morning in North Philadelphia.
It happened around 6:30 a.m. in the 800 block of N. 10th Street near Brown Street.
Officers were serving a warrant on a suspect wanted for homicide and other violent offenses. Police sources identified the suspect as 19-year-old Raheem Lee.
According to police, Lee fired at officers through a door and a window.
"Officers were able to continue to breach the property where they took on more gunfire from this individual," Deputy Commissioner John Stanford said.
That's when the officers were hit. One officer was shot in the hip and another officer was shot in the leg.
A third officer was hit in the upper chest after a bullet ricocheted off his vest. He suffered a serious contusion but, we're told, the bullet did not penetrate.
Police say the suspect then attempted to flee through the rear of the property, police said, at which point the suspect fired at SWAT officers who were stationed there.
At least six officers returned fire on the suspect, striking him in the head.
Lee was taken to Temple University Hospital where he was pronounced dead just after 7:30 a.m.
Action News is told one of the officers who was hit drove himself, and his partner, right down 10th Street to Jefferson Hospital for help.
"Let them know I'm shot in the hip, my partner is shot in the leg," he could be heard saying on police radio.
The officer who was hit in his chest and the officer shot in the hip were treated and released from the hospital. We've learned that the officer shot in the hip was sent home with the bullet still lodged in him. Doctors are going to wait for the swelling to go down before trying to remove it.
The officer shot in the leg remains hospitalized. Police say the bullet went through that officer's leg so he's being held overnight for observation.
Sources in the homicide unit say Lee was wanted for a killing that occurred at approximately 2:46 a.m. on Sunday, August 21, in the 2600 block of West Berks Street.
That's where a 34-year-old man was found inside a Range Rover with gunshot wounds to the neck. The victim was identified as Theodore Bell of the 10800 block of Keswick Road.
Sources say Bell was the father of Lee's sister's child.
Lee was also wanted for multiple armed robberies.
Stanford called the level of gun violence in Philadelphia "ridiculous," adding, "it's enough."
"There's not a day that goes by that we don't either have a child that is shot, or multiple people shot, because there are too many people out here carrying guns and they don't have consequences," he said. "Some people need to be in jail."
"This should not be happening -- this is not normal," he said. "Unfortunately we have come to believe that this is the normal course of events -- it's not ... it is troubling."
Stanford stressed that Wednesday's suspected gunman was just 19 years old.
"Something has been broken in this young man's life for a long time, and it just didn't start today," he said.
Several officers arrived at Jefferson Hospital to check on the wounded SWAT members.
Mayor Jim Kenney said the officers were sitting up and talking, and were surrounded by family members.
"Our officers continue to work every single day and every single night, to work their best, to be brave, to put themselves in harm's way, and to do that for us," Kenney said.
Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, who is currently attending a police chiefs' conference in Dallas, released a statement decrying violence against officers.
"While our SWAT officers are highly-trained professionals, this is yet again another cold reminder of the dangers involved in the work they do. Warrant service is always a high-risk assignment; particularly when the suspect is wanted in connection to violent crime," she said.
"But let me make sure something is perfectly clear: it is NOT the job of our officers to be shot at. It is not their job to be stabbed, spat upon, accosted or attacked in any way. And this type of violence towards our police - towards anyone - can not continue to be normalized," she continued. "As your Police Commissioner, I can promise you this: Our officers will not be intimidated, and we will continue to do everything we can to make Philadelphia a safer place to live."
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5 President John McNesby says he's frustrated that someone linked to murder and armed robbery charges was out in the public in the first place
"There is no accountability. Zero accountability. And they are doing what they want, shooting at police, they are shooting the community, they are shooting children, and nothing is happening. They're not being held accountable," he said.