Philadelphia gunman in custody after hourslong standoff

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Philadelphia police take cover as they respond to an active shooting situation. (AP)
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A police officer with an assault rifle monitors activity while responding to a shooting on August 14, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (AFP)
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Police escort a woman away from the scene of a shooting on August 14, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (AFP)
Updated 15 August 2019

Philadelphia gunman in custody after hourslong standoff

  • Local media reported the shooter appeared to have a high-powered weapon and a significant amount of ammunition

PHILADELPHIA: A gunman who opened fire on police Wednesday as they were serving a drug warrant in Philadelphia, wounding six officers and triggering a standoff that extended into the night, is in police custody, authorities said.
Philadelphia police Sgt. Eric Gripp said early Thursday morning that the man was taken into custody after an hourslong standoff with police.
The shooting began around 4:30 p.m. as officers went to a home in a north Philadelphia neighborhood of brick and stone rowhomes to serve a narcotics warrant in an operation “that went awry almost immediately,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said.
Many officers “had to escape through windows and doors to get (away) from a barrage of bullets,” Ross said.
The six officers who were struck by gunfire have been released from hospitals, Philadelphia police Sgt. Eric Gripp said.
Two other officers were trapped inside the house for about five hours after the shooting broke out but were freed by a SWAT team well after darkness fell on the residential neighborhood. Three people that officers had taken into custody in the house before the shooting started were also safely evacuated.
“It’s nothing short of a miracle that we don’t have multiple officers killed today,” Ross said.
Temple University locked down part of its campus, and several children and staff were trapped for some time in a nearby day care.
Police tried to push crowds of onlookers and residents back from the scene. In police radio broadcasts, officers could be heard calling for backup as reports of officers getting shot poured in.
“I was just coming off the train and I was walking upstairs and there were people running back downstairs who said that there was someone up there shooting cops,” said Abdul Rahman Muhammad, 21, an off-duty medic. “There was just a lot of screaming and chaos.”
Police implored the gunman to surrender, at one point patching in his lawyer on the phone with him to try to persuade him to give up, Ross said.
“We’re doing everything within our power to get him to come out,” Ross said during the standoff. “He has the highest assurance he’s not going to be harmed when he comes out.”
Dozens of officers on foot lined the streets. Others were in cars and some on horses.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said its agents responded to the scene to assist Philadelphia police.
President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr were briefed on the shooting, officials said.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said he was thankful that officers’ injuries weren’t life-threatening.
“I’m a little angry about someone having all that weaponry and all that firepower, but we’ll get to that another day,” Kenney said.

Curtains close on Jaipur Literature Festival

Updated 46 min 40 sec ago

Curtains close on Jaipur Literature Festival

  • This year’s themes were current trends in politics, wider society, the economy, art, and literature

NEW DELHI: The 13th edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) came to a close on Monday after registering a footfall of more than 400,000 visitors during the five-day event, which saw the participation of more than 500 speakers from 30 countries.

What started as a small event in the western Indian city of Jaipur in 2007 has gone on to become one of the most prestigious literary festivals in the world, so much so that the Diggi Palace, an expansive medieval structure which was used as the venue for the JLF every year, became overcrowded this year, forcing organizers to look for a new venue for 2021.

This year’s themes were current trends in politics, wider society, the economy, art, and literature.

With India witnessing continuous protests against new citizenship legislation introduced by the government, most of the political discussions revolved around the issue, with many drawing attention to the danger it posed to the constitution and the secular fabric of the country.

Changes taking place in the Arab world were also part of this year’s discourse with four Arab authors speaking at the JLF.