PHILADELPHIA - Three Philadelphia police officers were ambushed by gunfire while responding to a shooting Wednesday night in Northeast Philadelphia, authorities said.
Police were called to a property on the 7500 block of Whitaker Avenue around 7 p.m. after investigators say a 12-year-old boy reported to police that his father had shot his uncle.
Authorities say the dispute was over a loud video game. Investigators say a father and his juvenile son were arguing when the boy's uncle stepped in and began to argue with the father. Police believe the 42-year-old Michael Hwang, the boys father, fired a shot inside the house that caused the boy and his uncle to retreat upstairs.
Hwang followed the pair upstairs where police say he shot the boy's uncle in the face. Police say Hwang wore a ballistic vest and armed himself with a .40 caliber Glock pistol, loaded with 11 live rounds in an extended magazine with a 22 round capacity. He waited in the front doorway of the home for police to arrive and unleashed shots as soon as officers pulled up.
Two officers, ages 32 and 34, were shot in the right leg and a police Sergent, 33, was hit in the hand during the gunfight. Investigators say police returned fire and fatally wounded Hwang, who was pronounced dead by medics at the scene. Two of the three officers have since been released from the hospital.
"It is stunning, I thank God that (the officers) are OK, I thank them for their bravery and their desire to do this job which is very, very difficult, and I thank their families for the sacrifice they make," Mayor Jim Kenney said.
"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 FOP along with rank-and-file officers across the city salute their courage, bravery, and dedication to serve our residents and keep them safe."
FOX 29's Hank Flynn reports that police say the gunman was known to the department and was suffering from a mental illness.