The injured SEPTA transit police officer has been identified as 28-year-old Ervis Onuz, a three-year veteran of the force. He is in stable condition.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle issued a statement on Officer Onuz on Thursday afternoon:
"I'm beyond grateful that the brave SEPTA police officer will recover physically from last night's attack. Far too often, we have taken the long walk from hospital bays towards the cameras to share news of our colleagues' conditions. (SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel) and I are only a week removed from standing in formation at the funerals of our brothers, Pennsylvania State Police Troopers Mack and Sisca. While I hope we never have to take that walk again, there is always a sense of joy when we can share news that our colleague will make it. May God bless all of our brave officers."
I'm beyond grateful that the brave @SEPTA police officer will recover physically from last night's attack. Far too often, we have taken the long walk from hospital bays towards the cameras to share news of our colleagues' conditions. @TNestel3 and I are only a week removed from.. pic.twitter.com/65fIVbo7dI— Danielle M. Outlaw (@PPDCommish) April 7, 2022
The incident started around 7 p.m. Wednesday when shots were fired near Arrott and Griscom streets.
A witness said he was standing at a bus stop when a man started shooting from a block away.
"A lady got hit, right next to me, standing at the bus stop," the witness told Action News.
Two women, ages 42 and 57, were hit in the hip area. They were taken to the hospital in stable condition.
Police with the 15th district were on patrol when they heard the multiple gunshots, according to authorities.
That's when they saw a man holding a gun.
The male suspect led officers on a chase to the Renehan House Apartments on the 4700 block of Leiper Street. He ran into the building.
Officers from the Philadelphia Police Department and SEPTA Transit Police Department arrived outside the apartment building.
Chopper 6 was overhead as police blocked off the Frankford neighborhood as the barricaded gunman fired at officers from the second and third floors.
Several Philadelphia police officers exchanged gunfire with the man prior the arrival of SWAT units, but none were injured.
At some point during the incident, authorities say a Philadelphia police officer became pinned down by a small wall as the suspect was firing.
That's when SEPTA Officer Onuzi, who is also a SWAT team member, took action to save the officer's life.
"He drew his assault weapon and charged forward, yelling to the officer to go, and he was covering that officer as he got shot," said Chief Nestel.
Onuzi was shot at least one time in the abdomen. He was rushed to Temple University Hospital where he underwent surgery.
Onuzi was placed in critical but stable condition. Chief Nestel says he's expected to make a full recovery.
Nestel called him a "great police officer."
The SWAT units established a perimeter around the apartment building.
"Shortly after 8 p.m., we were able to utilize technology and it appeared the male was down in the second floor close to the window," Sgt. Eric Gripp with the Philadelphia Police Department said.
The gunman was later found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Gripp said. Police say the shooter had a Glock with 15 rounds that were emptied.
SEE ALSO: Gunman's relative speaks out about shooting that injured SEPTA officer, 2 women
"Our thoughts and prayers are with this brave SEPTA police officer who sustained this injury. Here we are again on another night in our city and just this completely and totally unacceptable and reckless gun violence nearly took three innocent people's lives, and we're so grateful that it wasn't worse than it was," said Sgt. Gripp.
The gunman has not been identified nor has a motive been revealed. The suspect's family said they were trying to contact him as the shots rang out.
"We can't get in contact with him at all. I just hope he's going to be alright," the family member said before the barricade ended.
The suspect's body was removed from the apartment building early Thursday morning.
Fellow officers crowded outside the ER waiting for word on the injured officer. Applause broke out when Onuzi appeared on FaceTime, giving a thumbs up after surgery.
Nestel commended his heroic actions.
"There are so many fantastic police officers out there. It doesn't matter the patch they wear and the badge that's on their chest. Police officers do this stuff when their brothers and sisters are in danger. It's what all of us as police leaders almost learn to expect, but the heroism and courage and valor that these folks exhibit every day is humbling," said Nestel.