Suspect critical after shooting 2 SWAT officers

December 23, 2010 4:22:21 AM PST
20-year-old Nasuil Martinez remains in critical condition Thursday after a violent standoff with police yesterday morning in Northeast Philadelphia.

Philadephia police say they were trying to apprehend Martinez early Wednesday morning at a home in the 800 block of East Sanger Street in the Summerdale section of the city. During an exchange of gunfire during the raid, bullets struck two SWAT officers and the incident ended with the suspect hauled away on a gurney.

Nasuil Martinez was the man police wanted for the shooting of Philadelphia Police Officer Kevin Gorman on December 10.

During the raid Wednesday morning, the two SWAT officers who were hit were uninjured thanks to their protective gear.

Just before 7:30 a.m., medics transported Martinez from the scene on an ambulance gurney. Authorities say moments after negotiating his surrender, Martinez accidentally shot himself in the neck.

During a morning news brieifing, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said officers were on the phone with Martinez instructing him about how to surrender to police.

"He said he was going to surrender," Ramsey said. "They were instructing him about what he needed to do in order to come up from the basement. At that time they heard a gunshot, and he made a comment to the effect of, 'Oh, it went off.' We immediately made entry and found him lying with a gunshot wound to the neck."

Martinez is being treated for wounds that officials call life-threatening.

During Wednesday morning's raid, one bullet fired at Officer Francis Whalen's chest was deflected by his Kevlar bullet-proof vest. Sergeant Christopher Binns' protective helmet kept him from getting shot in the head.

"Sergeant Binns was struck in the head, he went down momentarily...another round went through the drywall that is just to the right of the door, that strikes Officer Whalen in his vest," Chief Inspector Joseph Sullivan said.

Sergeant Binns, 49, is a 21-year veteran. Officer Whalen, 36, is a 13-year veteran.

Police say they were tipped to Martinez's location by a phone call early Wednesday morning. When SWAT arrived, they were met by a woman at the door who allowed them permission into the home. Officers saw a man run down into the basement when they entered the home. As police moved in, authorities say, Martinez opened fire through drywall in the basement and hit the two SWAT officers.

Philadelphia police returned fire. They would later learn that some of the shots had hit and wounded Martinez through phone communications with him.

During the ensuing standoff, at least once after the initial confrontation, Martinez did fire at the police from the basement.

Annie Mendez, Nasuil Martinez's sister, tells Action News, "Now they're saying he shot two more cops. And the cops went in with a warrant to pick him up and you know, whatever they say happened, happened."

Binns and Whalen were taken to Albert Einstein Medical Center as a precaution. Both later returned to the scene.

Martinez was wanted for the shooting of Philadelphia Police Officer Kevin Gorman, 33, a 3-year veteran of the force. He was treated at the hospital and released a few hours after the incident.

The shooting involving Officer Gorman happened around 2:15 a.m. Friday, December 10 near the 3300 block of North Howard Street near Westmoreland Street in North Philadelphia .

Authorities say Gorman was on routine patrol with his partner when they saw a car speeding the wrong way on Allegheny Avenue with four people inside.

The officers turned around and chased the car. It stopped a short time later and one person in the back seat of the car got out and ran.

Officer Gorman chased after him as the suspect climbed over a fence near Hope and Howard streets.

As Officer Gorman climbed the fence after him, there were gunshots and Gorman was hit in the shoulder with bullets from a .45 caliber weapon.

U.S. Marshals had been looking for Martinez. There was a $10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest and conviction.

Martinez is now charged with shooting three Philadelphia police officers.


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