President Donald Trump on Thursday used an hourslong police standoff in Philadelphia to call for getting “much tougher on street crime,” after reports detailing the suspect’s criminal history began to emerge.
“The Philadelphia shooter should never have been allowed to be on the streets. He had a long and very dangerous criminal record,” Trump tweeted. “Looked like he was having a good time after his capture, and after wounding so many police. Long sentence – must get much tougher on street crime!”
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The standoff began around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday when officers arrived at a house in northern Philadelphia to serve a narcotics warrant and were met with gunfire. Six officers were wounded in the gunfire and two others, who were barricaded inside the house with the gunman, escaped unharmed, police said. The standoff ended shortly after midnight after police negotiated the suspect’s surrender, and no fatalities have been reported. All six officers shot by the gunman have been released from the hospital, police said.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the suspect, identified in media reports as Maurice Hill, has been arrested about a dozen times since 2001 and has been convicted of a variety of charges including illegal possession of firearms, dealing drugs and assault.
The standoff prompted calls for gun control from Democrats, a subject that has become an intense topic of discussion after a rash of highly publicized mass shootings in recent weeks. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney on Wednesday pleaded for changes to gun laws to help police “with keeping these weapons out of these people’s hands,” ripping inaction on both the state and federal levels.
But on Thursday, Trump, who has long sought to cast himself as tough on crime, used the occasion to call for unspecified reforms and a “long sentence” for the suspect. Though he signed a criminal justice reform bill last year that eased mandatory minimum sentences, the bulk of those reforms were targeted toward nonviolent drug offenses.