By Vandana Rambaran
Published August 15, 2019
The U.S. attorney in Philadelphia, William McSwain, slammed city District Attorney Larry Krasner Thursday, imploring him to "stop making excuses for criminals" and to give strong consideration to attempted murder charges for the suspect who wounded six police officers during a nearly eight-hour-long shootout that began on Wednesday afternoon.
Although the incident remains under investigation, McSwain, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, said at a news conference that his office is "going to be providing some adult supervision" to Krasner's to determine what charges the suspect should face.
McSwain blamed Krasner for fostering what he called an environment of "disrespect for law enforcement" that emboldened the gunman to open fire at officers from the Philadelphia Police Department's Narcotics Strike Force who were attempting to serve a warrant in the Nicetown neighborhood.
"Where does such disrespect come from?" McSwain said. "It started with chants at the DA's victory party- chants of 'F--- the police' and 'No good cops in a racist system.'
McSwain called Krasner's rhetoric "the worst kinds of slander against law enforcement," and added, "the DA routinely calls police and prosecutors corrupt and racist, even 'war criminals' that he compares to Nazis."
"We have plenty of criminal laws in this City- but what we don't have is robust enforcement by the District Attorney," said McSwain, a former Marine whom President Trump appointed as U.S. attorney in April of last year.
At a separate news conference earlier Thursday, Krasner attempted to point the finger at the city's police union and previous police commissioners in an attempt to deflect heat about why Maurice Hill, the suspected gunman who had a long rap sheet of prior criminal offenses, was out on the streets.
"I don't think it's fair to expect some level of perfect knowledge on the part of police or prosecutors but it is obvious looking at the actions taken here that this was someone who needed to be off the streets," Krasner said.
Krasner said it was "pretty obvious" that Hill would face charges including attempted murder, aggravated assault in the first degree, and other offenses related to firearm and drug possession, as well as possible conspiracy, although charges have not been yet been brought due to the ongoing investigation.
Two officers were barricaded in a multi-family home with several hostages as the gunman fired hundreds of rounds of ammunition through the ceiling of the house and out the windows at responding officers from multiple law enforcement agencies, striking SWAT vehicles and neighboring homes, according to police.
Those officers and the hostages later were freed, apparently unharmed.
Six officers were shot and rushed to Temple University Hospital and Einstein Hosptial where they were treated for non-life threatening injuries and released the same night.
Two other officers, including a police sergeant, were injured in an accident related to the emergency response and were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
The gunman was armed with a semi-automatic rifle and several handguns, officials told Fox News.
"It is very troubling that somebody like this was able to do what he did last night," McSwain said.