Things to do in Philly this weekend, Aug. 16 to 18

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Looking for something to do this weekend? We’ve got you covered.

Below, you’ll find a wide selection of things to do in Philly, the burbs and neighboring states this weekend. 

Check back with KYW Newsradio weekly to plan your summer outings.

PARTIES AND FESTIVALS

EVENT: Philadelphia Folk Festival

DATE/TIME: Through Sunday, 9:30 p.m.

WHERE: Clemmers Mill and Salford Station Roads, Upper Salford Township, PA

DETAILS: The Philadelphia Folk Festival transforms a working farm into a magical, musical sound park, 35 miles outside of Philadelphia. This cherished event is the longest continuously running outdoor music festival of its kind in North America and will celebrate its 58th Anniversary this weekend. The Folk Festival is a family-friendly family event, with puppeteers, jugglers, aerialists, storytellers, hands-on crafts and of course, kid-oriented musicians gathering in Dulcimer Grove, the shady area that has become a haven for folk fans 12 and under. 

PRICE: Ticket prices vary. Children up to 5 years of age are admitted free in the campgrounds; children up to 11 years of age are admitted free to the concert area.

EVENT: Festival of India

DATE/TIME: Saturday, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

WHERE: Penn’s Landing, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia

DETAILS: Family-friendly fest packed with Indian art, music, dance and food.

PRICE: FREE

EVENT: Beech “Jazz on the Ave” & Soul Stock Music Fest

DATE/TIME: Saturday, 12 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

WHERE: Broad and Cecil B. Moore Streets

DETAILS: The 13th annual outdoor music festival will have two stages of live entertainment and a children’s zone with face painting, rocking climbing, bounce house, activities, and more. There will also be health and wellness screenings, merchandise, and food vendors. The headliner for the main stage is the Soul Rebels of New Orleans. Philly’s own Chill Moody will headline the Soul Stock Indie stage. Performances will also include: Sherry Wilson Butler, Tia Shanae, Lenny Harold, and Avery Wilson.

PRICE: FREE

EVENT: 2019 Philly Caribbean Festival

DATE/TIME: Sunday, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

WHERE: Penn’s Landing, 601 N Columbus Blvd.

DETAILS:The 33rd annual festival will feature live entertainment, Caribbean cuisine, handcrafts, and fun for all ages and cultures. This event is family-friendly. 

PRICE: Free

EVENT: Comics & Chords – A Full Day of Music and Comedy at MilkBoy

DATE/TIME: Sunday, August 18 at 1 p.m.

WHERE: Milkboy, 1100 Chestnut St., Philadelphia

DETAILS:  This is a festival with plenty of local music and comedy. The lineup includes: Eat Your Beats, Wexler & The Better Humans, Alyssa Al-Dookhi, Moses Shapiro, The Hess Brothers (of Zachademy), Dreamer on the Other Side, and more.

PRICE: $12 in advance; $18 day of show

FOOD/DRINKS

EVENT: Parks on Tap: Burholme Park

DATE/TIME: Wednesday to Sunday 

WHERE: Burholme Park, 401 Cottman Ave., Philadelphia

DETAILS: The beer garden will be located in front of the Ryerss Museum & Library. The museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and admission is free. The park also houses the Burholme Golf Center, a family-friendly activity center with mini-golf, a golf range, arcade games and more. 

PRICE: Free to attend

EVENT: Upper Bucks Brewfest

DATE/TIME: Saturday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

WHERE: Park at 4th, 501 W. Mill St., Quakertown

DETAILS: The Upper Bucks Brewfest will feature great craft brews and fine spirits from local distilleries, for everyone 21 years of age and up. The VIP ticket option includes exclusive access to specialty beers and earlier admission time.

PRICE: $10-$55

GET OUTDOORS

EVENT: One Africa! One Nation! Uhuru Flea Market

DATE/TIME: Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

WHERE: Clark Park, 4300 Baltimore Ave., Philadelphia

DETAILS: The outdoor market will host vendors with bikes, arts, crafts, jewelry, clothes, food, antiques, books, records, collectibles, and more. 

PRICE: Free

EVENT: 2019 Roasting Ears of Corn Festival

DATE/TIME: Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

WHERE: Museum of Indian Culture, 2825 Fish Hatchery Rd., Allentown

DETAILS: The 39th Annual Roasting Ears of Corn Festival invites the public to Pennsylvania’s oldest Native American Indian Festival. Bring lawn chairs and blankets for a weekend of American Indian drumming, singing, dancing, food, and more. The event will also feature Native American cooking and flintknapping demonstrations, artifact displays, a Plains Indian tipi, and mountain man fur trade encampments. Native American jewelry, fine art, and clothing will be sold in the marketplace.

PRICE: $10 Adults, $5 Youth ages 8-17 and Seniors over age 62, FREE for Children ages 7 & under with membership card

EVENT: Lehigh Valley Pride 2019

DATE/TIME: Sunday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

WHERE: 702 N. 22nd St., Allentown

DETAILS: Lehigh Valley’s Pride Festival acknowledges the achievements and progress made in and by the local queer community and beyond. In 2017, Pride of the Greater Lehigh Valley merged with Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center. The exciting community event provides a spotlight on LGBT arts and culture, connects thousands of community members to local resources, provides full-day programming for LGBT youth and teens, and celebrates the diversity in our community. 

PRICE: Admission: $5, children ages 12 and under free, youth ages 14-21 can earn a free ticket to pride through participation in Project SILK.

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Food drive to honor pregnant woman, son who died after car swept away by floodwaters

By Charlotte Reese 

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — People in Berks County are coming together to honor a pregnant mother and her young son who drowned during a flash flooding last month.

The annual food drive in Boyertown will now be called Preston’s Pantry Project, named after 9-year-old Preston who died during a flash flood along with his mom, Pam. 

“Once the story had broke, somebody found the post of when Preston had ran a food drive at his elementary at Pine Forge in 2018. He was able to collect 45 pounds of food,” said Heather Stehman, one of the organizers. 

Support from the community has been overwhelming.

Related: Pregnant woman, son dead after car swept away by floodwaters

“We had originally like, ‘oh maybe we’ll get 25 locations and that should be good,’ and then within 48 hours we had over 100 locations and people just asking ‘how can I help, can we volunteer at a store, what can we do just to help,'” Stehman added. 

There are now more than 250 collection sites throughout the Delaware Valley.

Donations will be accepted through Aug. 18 and will benefit the Boyertown Multi-Service Center. 

For more information, click here

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Flashpoint Extra: Mo’ne Davis, who led Taney Dragons to Little League World Series win, now off to college

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) —  Mo’ne Davis — remember her? At 13, she became the first girl to ever win and pitch a shutout in Little League World Series history. Now, she’s all grown up and headed off to college in just a few days. 

Marian Anderson Recreation Center is home to an indoor batting cage, a pool and lots of play space. But a brief walk around the facility reveals its also home to Mo’ne Davis.

Images of a younger Davis are all over the wall. One of the most striking, is a portrait of her at seven, with her signature pink glove.

“I probably had more swag back then than I do now,” said Davis. “My pants were high, my sleeves rolled up.”

Davis has fond memories of Anderson. It’s where she got to know her coach, Steve Bandura.

It’s where she fell in love with baseball and became a stand out athlete. It’s where her confidence shined brightly as she took on boys her age without fear.

“That girl then was just really paying attention to just playing sports and just really having fun,” she said, “it’s not like I chose this life where people are always watching.”

“That life” is the result of her meteoric rise in 2014. 

That was when a then-13-year-old, Davis used her 70 mile per hour fastball to catapult her team, the Taney Dragons, to the Little League World Series by making her mark in history.  

Her performance landed her the cover of Sports Illustrated and lead her travel around the country and the world.

“Meeting President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, that is up there,” she said when asked for three highlights she would never forget. “The Barnstorming Tour I took with my teammates. The third one, winning an ESPY, oh that tied with being on the cover of Sports Illustrated.”

“Hearing the news that I bumped Kobe Bryant off, like, that’s insane to me. I can’t believe that happened,” Davis added. 

She later played with the Anderson Monarchs, staying with her team. 

Davis once called basketball her main sport and spoke dreams of playing at the University of Connecticut. But as she matured, the desire waned and basketball was more work than fun. So she made the tough decision to let the sport go and focus on softball. 

“I decided that if I wanted to play a sport for the next four years, I wanted to have fun with that sport,” she explained.

In just a few days, Davis will head off to Hampton University in Virginia, where she’ll start her collegiate softball career as a part of the Hampton Pirates softball team. Her major will be communications.

“I realized I became a very outgoing person,” said Davis, who wants to have her own TV show. “Maybe it was little league and all the interviews, but I realize I want to be on the other side of the camera.”

But her time in the spotlight is still going.  And she plans to use it to inspire.  

Her advice to girls is this: “Dream as big as you can and then go for it, because no one can stop you.” 

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Philadelphia police commissioner details harrowing rescue of 2 cops trapped inside Nicetown gunman home

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. 

Related: City, state, federal officials vow to fight illegal guns, as officers shot in standoff recover

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.

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Police: 5 shot in Ogontz section of Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Police say at least five people were shot Thursday afternoon on 15th and Conlyn streets in the Ogontz section.

Police say they were taken to Einstein Medical Center and  are expected to be okay.

Police Commissioner Richard Ross is on the scene and says there were people sitting outside when shots rang out, and they were struck. One of the victims, he says, is believed to be 17-years-old, and the others are in their 20s or 30s.

Police see tipped over chairs and believe this may be a targeted shooting. They are looking for surveillance cameras in the area that may have captured the shooting. 

This happened less than 24 hours after six police officers were shot. 

This is a developing story. Stay with KYW Newsradio for the latest. 

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Man pleads guilty to 3rd-degree murder for killing woman while driving drunk, high

DELAWARE COUNTY, Pa. (KYW Newsrasio) — A 30-year-old Chester County man pleads guilty to third-degree murder for killing a woman while driving drunk and high in February. 

Wearing a dark prison jumpsuit, David Strowhouer of Newtown Square pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and related charges for the DUI head-on crash in Upper Chichester that killed 45-year-old Deana Eckman on Feb. 16. 

Eckman’s husband Chris was seriously injured. 

The defendant had five prior DUIs. This is his sixth one.

Related: Man in jail after fatal drunken driving accident

Deana Eckman’s parents, Richard and Roseann DeRosa of Brookhaven, were in court.  

“Everyday you wake up and you think, ‘is this the day the nightmare is over?’ And it never is,” Richard said. 

The family is working with lawmakers to strengthen DUI penalties.

“We are working on Deana’s law with Sen. Killion and Shannon Moyer and people from Harrisburg to try to change the laws a little bit. I think after your third time it should be a game changer. The courts should look at you differently and the penalties should be stronger,” said Roseann.

Strowhouer’s sentencing date is scheduled for Nov. 14. 

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At Elkins Park synagogue, leaders gather to denounce hate

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia-area leaders gathered at an Elkins Park synagogue Thursday to denounce hate.

The goal of the gathering at Congregation Knesset Israel was to send the message that Pennsylvania is no place for hate, and leaders started off with a moment of silence for the police officers who were hospitalized as a result of Wednesday night’s shootout.

Before getting to that message, State Sen. Art Haywood recognized the officers involved in the North Philadelphia shootout. 

“I do want us to take a brief moment of silence for those who were engaged in the shootout in Nicetown,” Haywood said. 

Related:

He then made a connection between hate crimes and gun violence. 

“You’ve got the biggest massacre of Jewish Americans, several months later followed by the biggest massacre of Hispanic Americans. It’s not like that’s the end,” he added. 

But Robin Burstein with the Anti-Defamation League of Philadelphia says hate crimes don’t begin with guns — they begin with jokes or other behaviors that normalize a viewpoint of hate.  

“Some of it is as simple as name calling or a swastika etched into a school desk,” Burstein said. 

Burstein says hate crimes in the first half of this year have increased 18% compared to the first half of last year, and Rabbi Lance Sussman of the congregation says he’s feeling the impact here in his own congregation.

“At the beginning of every service I now announce, ‘This exit leads directly outdoors.’ I never had to make an announcement like that in 40 years.”

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Philly election officials vote to keep 29M dollar contract for new voting machines

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Philadelphia Board of Elections voted Thursday to keep a $29 million dollar contract with Election Systems & Software (ES&S) for new voting machines. The contract was up for review, after the city controller discovered that the company failed to disclose lobbying activity.

A dozen activists spoke before the board’s vote to urge that the contract be voided, they protested by boo’ing and shouting when it wasn’t. Their concerns revolved around election security—they prefer hand-marked paper ballots over machines.

The issue the board had to consider was whether ES&S’ failure to disclose that it had hired two local lobbying firms was sufficient enough reason to dissolve the contract. 

Related: Philly election officials reconsider $29M contract for new voting machines after city reveals lobbying

Judge Giovanni Campbell and Judge Vincent Furlong decided that it was not. Commissioner Anthony Clark abstained. 

Campbell made a statement before his vote. He cited a letter from the procurement commissioner that said ES&S’ performance had been satisfactory, and that the city had already spent millions rolling-out the machines and training workers.

City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart had raised the issue of non-disclosure and asked the board not to vote until her investigation of the contract is complete. She says she was disappointed in the vote but added, “it’s not over.”

“We are looking into things I can’t talk about at this moment but the investigation will be done in a matter of weeks.”

Rhynhart said the board may have to meet on the issue again “at that time,” she said.

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Outreach begins to heal community following Nicetown-Tioga standoff

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Victim services nonprofits in the area began outreach on Thursday to help residents deal with the trauma of witnessing the standoff in the Tioga-Nicetown neighborhood on Wednesday night. 

Rosalind Pichardo is the founder of Operation Save Our City, a crisis responder and victim services nonprofit. She was at the hospital and on Erie Avenue assisting families displaced during the standoff on Wednesday. “Watching this thing go down live—it was very intense,” she said. 

She says many people were told to leave their homes, many of whom had few personal items and minimal funds.

“Some people didn’t know where to go, some people didn’t know what to do. It was just that intense,” she says.

Pichardo notes that a local church opened it’s doors to give residents a place to go. 

Thursday morning she headed back to the area to help folks deal with the psychological aftermath of the events. 

“People are willing to talk about this,” she said.

“The neighborhood is traumatized,” says J. Jondhi Harrell, founder and executive director of the Center for Returning Citizens (TCRC) Community Healing Center near Broad Street and Erie Avenue. He used Facebook to livestream the intial confrontation from 15th Street and Erie Avenue.

He says the residents are a big part of his concern, because many have never experienced a gunfight live.

“It was a war zone,” said Harrell.

But he’s also concerned about returning citizens. Alleged shooter, 36-year-old Maurice Hill, had an extensive criminal record. Harrell says that community already faces barriers, and that he fears the backlash.

“Anytime there is an incident where there are multiple officers injured by a shooting of a returning citizen it’s going to damage our reputation, damage our work and make things more difficult,” says Harrell.

Harell is opening the doors of the TCRC Community Healing Center at 3609 North Broad St. for counseling local residents.

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Uber driver found guilty in Chester County of raping passenger

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — An Uber driver has been convicted in Chester County court of raping a passenger he picked up at Valley Forge Casino in February 2018. 

Ahmed Elgaafary, 27, showed no emotion as the verdict was read, guilty on all counts including rape of an unconscious person, and showed no emotion when his bail was revoked and he was taken into custody.

It took the jury of 10 women and two men just shy of three hours to reach the verdict.

During the four day trial, the victim testified she had no memory of leaving the casino or of the ride home, but woke up with a bad feeling. She got checked out at the hospital when she found out what should have been a 15-minute ride took 53 minutes, and she was charged $234.

The DNA matched her driver, who initially denied touching her until he was confronted with the DNA results.

Elgaafary took the stand and testified his accuser didn’t appear overly intoxicated, and it was her who invited him into the back seat where they kissed then had sex.

Related:

But prosecutors pointed to his statement to police where he had to pull over on Route 422, where he said she threw up, then fell asleep on the side of the highway and he had to lift her back in the car.

During his closing, prosecutor Vince Cocco showed a photo Elgaafary took of the woman lying on his backseat with her eyes closed in a puddle of her own vomit. 

Elgaafary had taken the photo to send to Uber to collect a $150 cleaning fee. 

Cocco told jurors: The defendant needs you to believe that is the face of seduction.

An Uber spokesperson called the rape “appalling,” and said they had cooperated with the investigation, removing Elgaafary from the app when the company learned of the allegations. 

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Jury to decide fate of Uber driver accused of raping passenger

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — The fate of a 27-year-old Uber driver is in the hands of eight women and four men in Chester County who will decide whether or not he raped a 21-year-old woman he picked up at the Valley Forge Casino in February 2018. 

The woman says she doesn’t remember leaving the casino, the ride home, or any contact with her driver, 27-year-old Ahmed Elgaafary. She says she woke up the next morning with a bad feeling. She learned the normally 15-minute ride to her home in Malvern took 53 minutes, and she was charged $234.

In her closing argument, defense attorny Melissa McCafferty told the jury the prosecution fell short of proving the accuser was unable to consent to sex, telling them they can’t find her client guilty based on speculation or conjecture.

She points to his testimony where he says the woman seduced him after crying about her ex-boyfriend who she’d recently broken up with.

But prosecutor Vince Cocco pointed to Elgaafary’s initial statement to police, where he said, just minutes after the woman got in his car, she tried to open the door while they were going at least 45 mph on Rte. 422. He said he pulled over, she threw up. Then he told police she fell asleep on the side of the road and he had to lift her back in the car.

Related:

Elgaafary had taken a photo of the accuser after she threw up in his car to send to Uber to collect a $150 cleaning fee. 

In the image, she appears to be passed out, with vomit on the seat around her.

During his closing statement, Cocco showed it to the jury and told them: The defendant needs you to believe that is the face of seduction.

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National Liberty Museum celebrates ‘young heroes’ who make the most of freedom

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The National Liberty Museum in Old City will celebrate a group of 13 outstanding young citizens Thursday at its annual Young Hero Awards ceremony. One honoree says he overcame major challenges to discover the true meaning of liberty.

“Coming here and seeing all the new opportunities gave me drive to succeed,” said 18-year-old Dito Sakhovia, who emigrated to America from Georgia at just 14 years old.

He spoke no English the day he started 9th grade at George Washington High School. But after just a few months he decided to focus, first by learning English, then by joining business competitions and the wrestling team, where he excelled.

“I managed to keep a 3.5 GPA and straight A’s,” he said.

He then joined Toastmasters International, giving speeches in English about freedom. Last year he came in second place. This year, he took third place.

“I wasn’t born or raised here, so I wanted to challenge myself to see how far I could go,” he said.

Soon he’ll be heading to Penn State University, and soon he hopes to become an American citizen.

“Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself,” he said.

Dito will join other honorees from around the country, including a teen who started a STEM program for kids and another who created a Traveling Women’s History Museum. 

The TD Bank Young Hero Awards honors aspiring youth, age 18 or younger, who found an area where liberty was lacking and took matters into their own hands to make positive change. All honorees will get a medal and be featured in the Liberty Museum’s Young Heroes exhibit.

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Temple University Hospital adds miniature horse power to therapy animal program

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Miniature horses are joining the ranks of other therapy animals making the rounds at Philadelphia-area hospitals. 

Patients, visitors and staff at Temple Universality Hospital in North Philadelphia have already been alleviating stress for years with a therapy dog program. 

On Wednesday Little Miranda, a miniature therapy horse from Jacobs Mane of Hope, made her debut at the hospital, and she was a big hit.

Rosalyn Sachaczenski is the president of the nonprofit.

“I love to see people smile, especially when they are in really dark places. It’s priceless,” she said. “I’m just so incredibly blessed to do this and bring smiles and hope to people.” 

And when Miranda makes these visits at hospitals, she gets all dolled up with flowers, a special vest and special shoes that can be sanitized in between uses.

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Victoria Irizarry’s friend was at the hospital about to give birth. 

“It got me out of the waiting room and put a smile on my face,” she said.

Cassandra Cuesta is the hospital’s director of patient experience.

“It really does help with our patients’ healing, with pain management, and comfort that patients experience in the hospital,” she said. “And also for our staff, it really helps with our staff with stress levels.” 

Money was also be raised to benefit animals organizations like Pennsylvania SPCA and Jacobs Mane of Hope.

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Police officers shot in standoff recover; Krasner says he spoke directly to suspect

UPDATED: 12:58 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — All six police officers who here shot in a standoff with a gunman in North Philadelphia on Wednesday are out of the hospital and recovering at home. 

One officer, who was hurt in a car accident on the way to the scene, is still in the hospital.

In a briefing at police headquarters Thursday morning, Commissioner Richard Ross said he is surprised the suspected shooter, 36-year-old Maurice Hill, is still alive.

Related: 6 officers shot; suspect in custody after standoff with police for almost 8 hours

“We’re very fortunate that no one was killed in this incident,” he said.

The standoff started around 4:30 p.m. as officers went to a home in in the city’s Tioga-Nicetown neighborhood to serve a narcotics warrant in an operation that Ross says “went awry almost immediately.”

He was on the scene at 15th Street and Erie Avenue, personally negotiating with the shooter, 36-year-old Maurice Hill, who told Ross he had an extensive criminal record.

“It was an unusual circumstance, so we took unusual steps, because we’re about the preservation of life — in this case, even his,” Ross said. “This is something we were trying to convey to him all night long.”

Still an active scene

Ross said police have not been able to go through the house where the shooter was holed up Wednesday because the tear gas used to flush the suspected gunman out is still in the air.

Two police officers and three civilians were trapped in the house for hours during the standoff. Ross said that, in his press briefings on Wednesday, he didn’t want to give away that there were police officers in the house, because he wasn’t sure if the gunman knew about it. 

Their safety in that moment was Ross’ first concern. Ross says that’s why he was so close to the scene. Police were afraid the shooter might hunt them down.

The officers and civilians were all released at the same time, transforming the hostage situation into a barricade situation, requiring different tactics. That’s when police were able to use tear gas.

It’s not normal for a commissioner to be so close to a barricade situation, but Ross said he wanted to make sure the situation came to a peaceful conclusion. He took direction from detectives who were experienced negotiators, and he thanked all the officers who helped make it happen.

“All those folks who were inside trapped, not one of them was injured. Nobody died, including the suspect. That in and of itself speaks volumes to their dedication, their patience, their tenacity and everything else. I say that I am thankful to them. I thank each and every one of them,” he said.

Police are still waiting to search the house to find how many weapons and how much ammunition the gunman had. Ross said he believes a long rifle was used to shoot at police from a lower level of the house. 

Negotiating a surrender

Hill’s lawyer, Shaka Johnson, helped police get him out. Ross said it was an unconventional move to bring someone into a situation like this.

Johnson says initially he was at home watching the situation unfold on television like everyone else, but when negotiations between Hill and the police weren’t getting anywhere, he got involved.

Johnson said Hill called him around 8:30 p.m.

“He was obviously very anxious and concerned, and let me know that he was the person inside the house who needed to be brought out and wanted to come out safely,” Johnson said. “He asked me to specifically be here on scene when he came out, because he was certain that my presence would mean that nothing would happen to him.”

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner confirmed on Thursday that he was on the phone with Maurice Hill Wednesday night. He says Johnson called his cell phone directly, and within seconds the DA was on three-way phone call with the shooter and his attorney, in the middle of trying to negotiate with Hill to come out of house.

Krasner said he never spoke to police commanders on the scene before speaking to Hill; he just picked up, and then Hill was on the line.

There are questions about the legality of Krasner talking to the suspect and whether or how he could prosecute the case, as his involvement might now present a conflict of interest.

Krasner fully credited the the work of the police department and Commissioner Ross for leading Hill out of house. 

He added Hill was a tremendous danger to the community, but said he had not had any charges against him since before 2016.

Johnson said he was also on a three-way call with Ross and Hill.

He described a tense scene. When Johnson got there, wearing a bulletproof vest, he got on a bullhorn.

Then Ross said they deployed tear gas. 

Ross says Hill came out of the house with gun in his waistband. Officers approached Hill and took him down. Then Hill got treatment at Temple University Hospital.

Police say Hill has an extensive criminal record and he can expect some very serious charges, including attempted murder. Without going into detail, the DA said Hill has enough charges against him that “he may never exit jail.”

President Trump responds

On Thursday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted about the incident, saying Hill should never have been allowed on the streets and that law enforcement must get tougher on street crime. 

___

KYW Newsradio’s Mike Dougherty, Tim Jimenez and Kristen Johanson contributed to this report.

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Police officers shot in standoff recover, while suspect’s lawyer remembers tense scene

Related: 6 officers shot; suspect in custody after standoff with police for almost 8 hours

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — All six police officers who here shot in a standoff with a gunman in North Philadelphia on Wednesday are out of the hospital and recovering at home. 

One officer, who was hurt in car accident on the way to the scene, is still in the hospital.

In a briefing at police headquarters Thursday morning, Commissioner Richard Ross says he is surprised the suspected shooter, 36-year-old Maurice Hill, is still alive.

He said the scene up at 15th Street and Erie Avenue in the city’s Tioga-Nicetown neighborhood, was still active on Thursday morning. Police have not been able to go through the house where the shooter was holed up Wednesday because the tear gas used to flush the suspected gunman out is still in the air.

Two SWAT team members and three civilians were trapped in the house for hours during the standoff. Ross said that, in his press briefings on Wednesday, he didn’t want to give away that there were police officers in the house, because he wasn’t sure if the gunman knew about it. 

Their safety in that moment was Ross’ first concern. Ross says that’s why he was so close to the scene. Police were afraid the shooter might run upstairs to find them.

The officers and civilians were all released at the same time, transforming the hostage situation into a barricade situation, requiring different tactics. That’s when police were able to use tear gas.

It’s not normal for a commissioner to be so close to a barricade situation, but Ross said he wanted to make sure the situation came to a peaceful conclusion. He thanked the officers who helped make it happen.

“All those folks who were inside trapped, not one of them was injured. Nobody died, including the suspect. That in and of itself speaaks volumes to their dedication, their patience, their tenacity and everythign else. I say that I am thankful to them. I thank each and every one of them,” he said.

Police are still waiting to search the house to find how many weapons and how much ammunition the gunman had. Ross said he believes a long rifle was used to shoot at police from a lower level of the house. 

Negotiating a surrender

Hill’s lawyer, Shaka Johnson, helped police get him out. Ross said it was an unconventional move to bring someone into a situation like this.

Johnson says initially he was at home watching the situation unfold on television like everyone else, but when negotiations between Hill and the police weren’t getting anywhere, he got involved.

Johnson said Hill called him around 8:30 p.m.

“He was obviously very anxious and concerned, and let me know that he was the person inside the house who needed to be brought out and wanted to come out safely,” Johnson said. “He asked me to specifically be here on scene when he came out, because he was certain that my presence would mean that nothing would happen to him.”

Johnson was in on a three-way call with Ross and Hill. He described a tense scene. When Johnson got there, wearing a bulletproof vest, he got on a bullhorn. Then Ross said they deployed tear gas. 

Ross says Hill came out of the house with gun in his waistband. Officers approached Hill and took him down. Then Hill got treatment at Temple University Hospital.

Police say Hill has an extensive criminal record and he can expect some very serious charges, including attempted murder.

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KYW Newsradio’s Mike Dougherty and Tim Jimenez contributed to this report.

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