PHILADELPHIA - A nurse assistant has died after Philadelphia police say he was shot by a coworker inside Thomas Jefferson University Hospital early Monday morning. Two Philadelphia police officers were also injured after they exchanged gunfire with the suspect in West Philadelphia.
The incident began shortly after midnight, when officers rushed to the hospital for reports of a shooting inside.
Investigators say a male suspect shot the 43-year-old male victim six times on the ninth-floor hallway inside the hospital. The victim was pronounced dead a short time later.
Following the shooting, the suspect fled the scene in a U-Haul vehicle. About an hour after the shooting a passerby flagged down 16th District police officers at the School of the Future at 40th and Parkside.
Officers received a tip that the suspect was armed near the School of the Future in West Philadelphia.
The passerby informed officers that there was a man in scrubs armed with a long gun who was potentially firing shots into the air, according to Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.
Four 16th District police officers encountered the suspect on the 4100 block of Parkside Avenue.
Commissioner Outlaw says the suspect began firing at the officers, and all four returned fire. Two officers were struck by gunfire during the shootout.
One officer, a 30-year-old man, is in critical but stable condition after he was shot in the elbow. A 32-year-old officer is in stable condition after he suffered a graze wound to the nose. Both are expected to survive and the 30-year-old officer’s injuries will require surgery.
The suspect was also shot during the exchange of gunfire. He was struck in the upper body and in the neck. He was listed in critical condition, but is expected to survive.
Commissioner Outlaw says the suspect was wearing body armor and was carrying multiple weapons, including a handgun and a long gun that is believed to be an AR-15. FOX 29’s Steve Keeley reports that 55-80 rounds were fired by the suspect during the shootout with police.
Both guns were recovered from the scene where dozens of evidence markers could be seen as daylight broke Monday.
Police have identified the suspect as a 55-year-old employee at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. They say he worked with the victim at the hospital. The victim is believed to have been the intended target, and police say there is no further threat to the community.
Police recovered two firearms from the scene of the shootout at 40th and Parkside.
Outlaw says it is not yet known if the suspect was on-duty at the hospital at the time of the shooting, but that he did enter the building in scrubs.
The commissioner also commented on the number of deadly shootings the city has seen so far in 2021, and especially in recent weeks.
"The numbers are staggering, it is heartbreaking in a lot of cases. There are a lot of juveniles involved, but it's not going to stop us from doing what we all signed up to do. One homicide is one too many. Active shooter situations are typically incidents that happen far and few in between, but now we're seeing what we could call an active shooter – something that's happened Friday and early Monday morning… It's not supposed to happen this close together, but we were all prepared to respond quickly and deal with it and that is what we will continue to do," Commissioner Outlaw said.
The investigation is ongoing.
School of the Future has switched to virtual learning for the day Monday, as police continue to process the shooting scene.