PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and other politicians from Pennsylvania are calling for new gun-control measures after a gunman shot six Philadelphia police officers Wednesday during a standoff in the Nicetown-Tioga section of the city. Suspect Maurice Hill, 36, was arrested shortly after midnight following a seven-hour standoff.
Kenney said state and federal lawmakers need to “step up or step aside” and let cities deal with the gun violence problem themselves if they won’t enact new gun-control legislation.
“Getting relief in the form of meaningful gun control legislation will save lives — the lives of residents, and the lives of the men and women who have sworn to protect us,” Kenney said. “Incidents like this should not keep happening — not in our city, not in our country. If we fail to act, we will continue to see gun violence ravage our communities and tear families apart.”
Kenney got emotional talking about seeing officers carrying children from day care centers near the scene to safety.
“To see our officers carrying little babies, holding kids’ hands and walking them to safety showed me what those men and women about are really about — they’re about protecting us,” the mayor said.
Kenney also lauded the officers for their bravery during the hours-long ordeal.
“They were brave, they were running towards heavy gunfire. The training and ability was unmatched. They were coordinated, they were talking to each other, they were directing each other, they were keeping each other safe, while being barraged with ammunition and shots from a high-powered rifle. They stood out there and they were patient and were there for seven hours under gunfire,” Kenney said.
During the press conference, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., said the Senate must vote on a background check bill and also move to ban “weapons of war.”
“It’s time for the United States Senate to vote on a background check bill, but also not to forget about and not to push off for another day, finally, at long last, a ban on military-style assault weapons which are weapons of war which should not be on our streets,” the senator said.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross says the gunman had a handgun and a military-style AR-15 rifle, but it’s not known if the suspect got the guns legally.
Hill, the alleged gunman, has a lengthy criminal record, including guns and drugs charges. Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner says charges have not yet been filed because the investigation is ongoing, but Hill will most likely face attempted murder and aggravated assault charges, among others.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)