PHILADELPHIA – Two undercover narcotics officers were shot Tuesday evening while trying to serve a warrant, the latest in a spate of shootings at police that has left one city officer dead this year.
One officer was shot in the leg, the other was hit in the hip. Both were reported to be in stable condition at different hospitals. "Both of them are very, very lucky," police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson said.
The suspected gunman was believed to be still inside a house where the shooting occurred in northeast Philadelphia, Johnson said. More than three hours after shooting, police continued to surround the house.
The commissioner said police trying to serve the warrant rang the door bell twice and then used a battering ram on the door. The shooter then fired through a window, he said.
The injured plainclothes officers were wearing badges, Johnson said. They were being assisted by uniformed officers positioned at the front and the back of the house. The injured officers' names were not immediately released.
Mayor John F. Street decried what he called a "deterioration of respect for law and order and for our police department" and urged lawmakers to help the city get illegal guns off the streets.
"It's outrageous," mayor-elect Michael Nutter said. "We have to get the word out that we will not tolerate people shooting Philadelphia police officers."
The shootings happened less than two weeks after Officer Chuck Cassidy, 54, was shot when he walked in on a robbery at a doughnut shop on Oct. 31. He died the next day. A suspect was arrested days later in Miami and is now in custody in Philadelphia.
There has been a spate of shootings at police officers recently; all but Cassidy survived.
About 12 hours before that shooting, a traffic officer was shot in the shoulder during a chase downtown. In September, a rookie officer was shot in the face with a shotgun by a man who jumped out of a car during a traffic stop.
Before Cassidy's death, the most recent fatal shooting of a Philadelphia police officer came in May 2006.
Officer Gary Skerski was fatally shot in the neck when a man robbing a bar fired a shotgun out the back door. Solomon Montgomery pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison.