A crowd of several hundred was expected in support of the gunman who shot six police officers in Philadelphia for a strange protest on Friday night, Aug. 16. but only a handful showed up.
Organizers informed KYW that 200 to 300 people were expected to attend the rally supporting 36-year-old Maurice Hill, who was detained on Wednesday after a nearly eight-hour standoff without injury.
During the standoff, Hill also trapped two officers and three civilians inside the house until they were freed hours later by SWAT officers.
KYW revealed that he stayed in police custody on Friday waiting to be arraigned on allegations of attempted assassination and aggravated assault.
Police Commissioner Richard Ross from Philadelphia said police officers would also be at the scheduled protest to do their job, KYW said.
“Sadly, we do have to be there,” Ross said to journalists. “I don’t understand it. There are certain marches I do understand, this is definitely not one of them.”
District Attorney Larry Krasner of Philadelphia said on Thursday that Hill is a convicted felon with a history of arrests from the early 2000s.
The gunman’s prior arrest history included “a variety of gun charges,” robbery, reckless endangerment, DUI, perjury, resisting arrest, burglary, escape, illegally taunting a police animal, traffic and driving-related offenses, as well as “multiple charges for aggravated assault [and] for drugs,” the district attorney said.
Hill also served a “lengthy” federal jail sentence for arms-related crimes and served time in federal community oversight, said Krasner.
Krasner said he didn’t know if his office ever handled a possible Hill probation violation hearing, but stated that his office never prosecuted a case against him while Krasner was in office.
“I think it’s clear—this man should not have been on the streets in the sense that he obviously was a tremendous danger to the public and to law enforcement,” Krasner said. “But if you’re asking me do I believe that everyone in the system going back to 2007 and up until the present has a crystal ball, I do not.”
“I don’t think it’s fair to expect some level of perfect knowledge on the part of police or prosecutors, but it’s obvious … that this is someone who needed to be off the streets, and it is also clear that he had a very lengthy criminal record,” he added.
The inquiry into the assault is underway and formal charges have not been filed.
“It is pretty obvious that there should be charges of attempted murder, it’s pretty obvious there should be charges of aggravated assault … pretty obvious that there are some serious firearms charges—including the fact that he was a felon,” Krasner said, adding that there were also “drugs involved.”
The inquiry was carried out by federal and state organizations, and formal charges will be forthcoming.
After receiving a call from Hill’s attorney, Shaka Johnson, Krasner said he spoke to Hill over the phone during the standoff.
Krasner said the gunman was worried that if he left home he would be killed and also had questions about what legal charges he might face.
“We were doing what we could to try to lower the volume, to bring more calm about, to get him to a more rational position,” he told reporters. “The last thing we wanted was to come out of this with officers going in to take him … and have them fired upon or killed or injured.”
Krasner commended the police in Philadelphia for how they handled the active shooter situation and said he did not take any credit for the end of the incident.
The tear gas, the district attorney said, was what eventually drove Hill out of the home.
On Wednesday night, all six injured police officers were released from the hospital and are recovering at home, reported KYW.