Slain suspect accused of shooting 3 Philadelphia police officers identified

Police were called to the scene after an apparent fight over video games led to gunfire inside a home.

Thursday, October 5, 2023
Slain suspect accused of shooting 3 police officers identified
Slain suspect accused of shooting 3 Philadelphia police officers identified

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Three Philadelphia police officers were shot and wounded while responding to a domestic-related incident at a home that resulted in a shooting.

It happened just after 7:30 p.m. Wednesday on the 7500 block of Whitaker Avenue in Northeast Philadelphia's Burholme neighborhood.

According to police, there was an argument between Michael Hwang, 42, and his son, apparently over video games.

At some point, the boy's uncle got involved and an argument escalated.

Police say the child and uncle ran upstairs, Hwang followed them, and that's when he opened fire, striking the uncle.

The child and uncle then called 911.

"Unknown if doer still on location. Juvenile stated his dad shot his uncle two times," an emergency dispatcher can be heard saying over the radio.

According to investigators, Hwang failed to drop his weapon and shot two police officers and a police sergeant who were responding to the scene.

Police provide updates after 3 Philadelphia officers shot, wounded while responding to domestic call

Interim Police Commissioner John Stanford said the shooter was waiting for police when they responded.

"The subject goes to the front of the property and is essentially awaiting the arrival of our police officers," said Stanford. "He then begins to immediately fire upon our officers."

Two of the injured officers and another sergeant returned fire, striking the Hwang, who was ultimately pronounced dead at the scene.

Police say Hwang was wearing a ballistic vest and armed with a 40 caliber Glock pistol and several loaded magazines.

Radio transmissions between police caught the terrifying moment one of the injured officers called for help.

"I'm hit," the officer can be heard saying. "Just get me a car."

The uncle was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

It's still unclear how many shots were fired.

Two officers suffered gunshot wounds to the leg and the sergeant was shot in the hand.

At 11 p.m. Wednesday, the sergeant who was shot in the hand was released from the hospital.

By 4:30 p.m. on Thursday a second officer was released. She was wheeled out of Jefferson-Torresdale Hospital, surrounded by fellow officers saluting her, as she was escorted to a waiting squad car.

The third officer is still hospitalized after being shot in the leg.

One injured officer has been identified as a 32-year-old who has been with the department for four years. The second injured officer is a 34-year-old who has been on the force for six years. And the injured sergeant who was shot in the hand is 37 years old and has been with the department for 17 years.

All officers involved in this incident are assigned to the 2nd Police District.

"Our brave and dedicated officers continue to amaze me with their courage to run toward gunfire," said Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 President John McNesby. "We're thankful that our officers will recover from their injuries, and we owe them a debt of gratitude."

The child and an adult female inside the home were not injured.

'We heard rapid fire'

Some residents in the area told Action News they heard the gunfire and were shocked by what happened.

"We heard rapid fire. Sounded like fireworks," recalled Malikah Campbell. "It's pretty scary. Gives you the idea that you're ready to move."

"It was, 'Pop! Pop! Pop!' That's not fireworks," added Melissa Corsey. "The violence is rising in all of Philadelphia, but in your own backyard? It's unnecessary."

Neighbors say the ongoing violence in their community is cause for concern.

"It's supposed to be away from the violence, but it feels like it's moving up here," said Julian Cannizzaro.

Residents who live down the street from the scene were also impacted by the gunfire.

One resident told Action News a bullet went through their house just below their living room window, where they usually hang out with their baby and family.

Fortunately, no one was injured, but the family said they were shaken.

At the end of it all, people say they admire the bravery of those officers.

"You rush in to help and you get hurt in the end, and it's unfortunate. They risk their lives for us," said Corsey.

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