Three Philadelphia police officers were shot and a 19-year-old man was killed during an exchange of gunfire Wednesday morning as a SWAT team was attempting to arrest a murder suspect.
Officers arrived just after 6 a.m. at a residence on the 800 block of N. 10th Street in North Philadelphia in search of Raheem Lee, who was wanted in connection with a homicide that occurred two months ago.
After members of the SWAT team knocked and announced themselves, Lee fired through the door and window, Deputy Police Commissioner John Stanford said.
He then attempted to run through the back door, where other officers were waiting, according to police. Stanford said Lee again opened fire on law enforcement, who shot back, hitting the young man several times.
Authorities said Lee succumbed to his injuries a short time later at Temple University Hospital.
Two of the injured officers were struck in the leg, and the third was shot in the chest, though Stanford said his ballistic vest deflected the bullet.
“We are very lucky to still have those officers with us,” Stanford told reporters at an afternoon news conference.
He added that two of the officers were discharged from the hospital, while the other is being kept overnight for “observation” with nonlife-threatening injuries.
District Attorney Larry Krasner’s office said prosecutors approved murder charges against Lee two days after the Aug. 21 fatal shooting of 34-year-old Theodore Bell on the 2600 block of W. Berks Street in North Philadelphia.
Bell was found inside a Range Rover with gunshot wounds to his neck and died at the scene, according to police.
Lee was also a suspect in multiple gunpoint robberies and had two robberies on his juvenile criminal record, Stanford said. The details of those prior incidents were not immediately available as juvenile court documents are not typically public.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, who is attending a law enforcement conference in Dallas, said in a statement that she was able to speak with the wounded officers.
“It is NOT the job of our officers to be shot at,” she continued. “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 – cannot continue to be normalized.”