SWAT officers struck by gunfire in Germantown standoff identified
PHILADELPHIA - Two veteran members of the Philadelphia Police Department were struck by gunfire during an hours-long standoff with an armed suspect last weekend in Germantown.
Sgt. Erik Bullock, a 25-year member of the force, and Officer Matthew Fitzpatrick, who has served for 10 years, were both hit struck in their ballistic vests when police say Steve Robbins fired a shotgun through a third floor bedroom of a property on the 400 block of W. Bringhurst Street.
Authorities were first called to the property around 4 p.m. Saturday for reports of a person with a gun. Officers entered the home and announced themselves, but quickly retreated after investigators say Robbins fired a single gunshot.
Authorities, including a police negotiator, spent the next nine hours trying to coax Robbins out of the home. The decision to enter the home was made after authorities lost contact with Robbins for "several hours."
When members of the Philadelphia Police Department's SWAT Unit climbed to the third floor of the property, investigators say Robbins fired a shotgun through a bedroom door. The blast struck Sgt. Bullock and Officer Fitzpatrick in their ballistic vests and a third officer's ballistic shield.
Officers returned fire, striking Robbins once in the right shoulder. He was taken to Albert Einstein Medical Center where he was placed in "critical, but stable condition."
Sgt. Bullock and Officer Fitzpatrick were also brought to a local hospital for precautionary measures, and released a short time later. Neither officer sustained penetration wounds from the shotgun blast, according to investigators.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw called the officers actions a "testament to their bravery" and said her department will "will not be intimidated, and will not back down."