PHILADELPHIA - A 19-year-old suspect is dead and three Philadelphia SWAT officers are in the hospital after gunfire broke out while authorities were serving a homicide arrest warrant early Wednesday morning.
Police say shots rang out while SWAT officers were approaching a home on the 800 block of 10th Street to arrest a teen wanted in connection with a recent homicide and armed robberies.
The suspect, identified as Raheem Lee, opened fire on SWAT officers through the front door and windows, according to police. A short time later, the suspect tried to flee through the back door where he was encountered by more officers.
A shootout ensued in the rear of the property, and officers fatally struck the suspect. He was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Three SWAT officers were injured in the shooting and transported to a local hospital. One was shot in the leg, one in the hip, and a third was hit in the chest after a bullet ricocheted off their protective vest.
Two officers have since been released from the hospital, with a third said to be in stable condition.
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Lee was wanted for the murder of Theodore Bell on August 21, according to Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner. Bell, who officials say was connected to Lee's family, was found shot to death inside a vehicle.
Three other people were handcuffed by police as FOX 29 arrived at scene. Police say they were in the house as the shooting unfolded, but do not believe they were involved at this time.
Philadelphia Police Deputy Commission John Stanford called the shooting "ridiculous" in a press conference outside the hospital where SWAT officers were being treated Wednesday morning.
"These officers sign up to do a job, it's to protect and serve, but not to take gunfire," Stanford said. "At some point it becomes enough, and I think we've reached that point."
As gun violence continues to rise across the city, Stanford says that "some of these people need to be in jail."
"At the end of the day it comes down to some folks – not everybody, I want to very clear about that, not everybody deserves to be in jail. But some folks that have a lengthy record, they deserve to be in jail," Stanford said. "Because again there are too many innocent citizens that essentially their lives are at risk every day because there isn’t any accountability.
"The bottom line is we need everybody," Stanford added. "Parents, family members; this is an all-hands-on-deck situation, where everybody has to be held accountable."
This shooting comes just fives days after multiple Philadelphia police officers were ambushed by gunfire while on patrol in North Philadelphia, an act Commissioner Danielle Outlaw says is "yet another cold reminder of the dangers" law enforcement faces.
Outlaw, who is out of town at a ‘Major City Chiefs’ event, released the following statement on Twitter:
"Let me make sure something is perfectly clear: It is NOT the job of our officers to be shot at. It is not their jobs 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. We are tired of arresting the same suspects over and over again, only to see them right back on the street to continue and sometimes escalate their criminal ways. We are tired of having to send our officers into harm's way to serve warrants on suspects who have no business being on the street in the first place… I am beyond disgusted by this violence. Our entire department is sickened by what is happening to the people that live, work and visit our city. Residents are tired of it. Business owners are tired of it. Our children are tired of it. We are long past 'enough is enough."