Suspect facing multiple charges after gunfire involving police in Germantown

Steve Robbins, 65, is hospitalized after he was shot in the upper-right chest following the barricade situation in Germantown.

Monday, May 1, 2023
Suspect facing multiple charges after gunfire involving police
A man is facing multiple charges after gunfire involving Philadelphia police in Germantown.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A suspect is facing multiple charges after a 14-hour-long standoff over the weekend that ended with him being shot and two police officers being hit by gunfire in their body armor.

Steve Robbins, 65, was taken to the hospital in critical condition after he was shot in the upper-right chest following the barricade situation in Germantown that lasted from Saturday night into Sunday morning.

He is charged with seven counts of assault of a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault and related offenses.

Robbins is also accused of endangering a family member, the D.A. said. He will be arrested and arraigned after he's released from the hospital.

The officers who were struck by gunfire were not injured.

Robbins had been wanted on a bench warrant for unlawful contact with a minor since February 2022.

Police say the incident started around 4 p.m. Saturday. Officers were called to the 400 block of West Bringhurst Street for reports of a man with a gun.

"Upon arriving, they meet with a family member who gives them access to the property. Upon entering, they announce themselves as police when the gentlemen inside begins to fire," said First Deputy Commissioner John Stanford.

Police said Sunday that officers inside heard one shot before exiting the home, setting a perimeter, and declaring a barricade.

The barricade lasted overnight Saturday into Sunday.

A hostage negotiator was brought to the scene and made contact with another sergeant who was on the phone with the suspect, police say.

The officers communicated with the suspect over the phone and via the PA system on a SWAT vehicle for the next nine hours.

During that time, the suspect asserted he would not leave the property, according to police.

"We heard them talking to him. We heard them sound like they were trying to de-escalate at least, which was a relief," said Jaime Sullivan, a neighbor.

However, police say they lost communication with the suspect after several hours of being on the phone.

This is when the police say SWAT officers entered the property.

SWAT officers found Robbins on the third floor. Police say he started shooting as soon as they entered.

He fired one time with a shotgun through a bedroom door, according to police.

Police said two officers, a 56-year-old man, and a 35-year-old man, were struck in their ballistic vests.

A third officer's ballistic shield was also struck during that time.

"They were saved by their vest. They return fire, striking the male and he was transported to the hospital," said Stanford.

Both officers were transported to the hospital as a precaution and were released shortly after, officials say. The officers did not sustain any penetrating injuries.

The officers were also placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the Internal affairs and Officer-Involved Shooting Investigations.

"Yet again our officers were placed in a harrowing and life-threatening situation," said Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw in a press release. "I was grateful to express my heartfelt concern and gratitude to our SWAT officers who were injured in the line of duty. Their actions were a testament to their bravery, and we all pray that they are able to quickly recover from this traumatic experience. Although we are fortunate that their physical injuries were not severe, this serves as a stark reminder of the dangers our communities and officers face from armed criminals. Our members will not be intimidated, and we will not back down. Please keep our brave officers and their families uplifted in prayer."

Philadelphia police say they are still investigating the incident as an officer-involved shooting.

The district attorney's office said this was an attempted 'suicide by cop.'

Residents in the area told Action News the barricade was a shocking incident.

"He seemed like a nicer old man, but I met him briefly. The neighbor said he had some struggles," said Sullivan.

Some neighbors in the area, like Sullivan, stayed inside as the barricade unfolded. But Gregory Flint Sr. told Action News he couldn't get to his house.

"I'm just going to continue to pray for the family, you know," he said.

He says he knows the suspect and was stunned this happened.

"He was like a family-oriented guy, you know what I mean? He did a lot of cookouts with the family. They were very close-knit. He was very friendly, always spoke to me, I spoke to him," he said.