The suspect in the Philadelphia standoff has a lengthy criminal history, district attorney says

Posted at 4:05 PM, Aug 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-15 16:05:39-04

Maurice Hill, the suspect in an hourslong standoff that left six Philadelphia police officers wounded, has a lengthy criminal record going back to the early 2000s, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said Thursday.

Public court records show Hill has a 12-page criminal record having faced a variety of charges, including burglary, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment of another person and gun charges. Many of the charges did not result in a conviction.

Hill, 36, also has a record in the federal system, Krasner said, adding that he has not seen it for himself. “But I have been advised that the record in the federal system includes a lengthy prison sentence in federal prison for weapons,” he said.

“I think it’s clear this man should not have been on the streets,” Krasner said.

Authorities say Hill shot at police officers who were trying to serve a narcotics warrant at a row house in the Nicetown-Tioga neighborhood on Wednesday afternoon. As they moved toward the kitchen area inside the home, a man fired multiple rounds, forcing some officers to escape through the window, authorities said.

The man then barricaded himself in the home and fired shots at officers, police said. Six officers were wounded in the ordeal, and the suspect was arrested shortly after midnight, nearly eight hours after he first opened fire.

Hill “likely” used an AR-15 rifle to fire at officers, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said. Hill also had a handgun in his pocket when he finally surrendered to police.

Authorities have not definitively determined what “additional weapons” he may have had, Ross said, because investigators have been unable to gain access to the scene due to the tear gas police used to force Hill outside.

Here’s what else we know about the suspect.

He has an extensive rap sheet

According to public court records, Hill has had numerous brushes with the law dating back to at least 2001, when he turned 18.

He was indicted in federal court in Pennsylvania in 2008 for the illegal possession of a Smith & Wesson .357 caliber revolver, seven live rounds of ammunition and a fully loaded Taurus PT .45 semi-automatic that he purchased in another state, records show. Hill pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 55 months in prison, plus three years of supervised release for felony possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, records state.

He’s also been charged with multiple crimes in state cases that were either negotiated down in plea deals or dropped.

In a 2007 incident, Hill faced numerous charges including attempted murder, aggravated assault and illegal firearms possession. But he ultimately pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault, according to court records.

When he was 19, Hill was charged with kidnapping and assault, but those charges were later dropped.

Other charges on his record include illegal firearms possession, taunting a police animal and criminal trespass. On multiple occasions Hill was charged with intent to manufacture and distribute narcotics and narcotics possession.

Hill pleaded guilty to a DUI in 2007.

He was slated to appear in court next week for a probation or parole hearing, Krasner said.

Suspect ‘may never exit jail’

Charges have not been formally filed against Hill, Krasner said, and the investigation is ongoing. But the district attorney offered a wide range of “obvious” potential charges the suspect could face.

“It’s pretty obvious there should be charges of attempted murder. It’s pretty obvious there should be charges of aggravated assault in the first degree. It is pretty obvious that there are some pretty serious firearms charges, including the fact that he was a felon before he was handling this weapon,” Krasner said.

Hill could also face drug charges, depending on how the investigation plays out, he said.

“But an awful lot of these details are not available to us now,” Krasner said.

“I will say, there will be a lot of charges,” he added. “These are more than enough charges so that Mr. Maurice Hill may never exit jail.”

Suspect video chatted with his girlfriend, police say

At one point during the incident, Ross said in a morning news conference, the suspect was in contact with his girlfriend via video chat.

It’s unclear how officers knew about the chat between Hill and his girlfriend. But negotiators then used information about the girlfriend and the suspect’s newborn as leverage to “appeal to him and his sense of reasoning,” Ross said.

He spoke with the district attorney and the police commissioner

Ross credited local attorney Shaka Johnson with helping bring the standoff to an end.

Johnson told CNN affiliate KYW that he is Hill’s former attorney. Johnson said the suspect called him Wednesday evening while he was watching the drama unfold on television and said he needed help.

“He did not want this to end violently,” Johnson told the station, adding, “I told him you got to surrender now, you know, in short you have to surrender.”

Johnson has not responded to CNN’s requests for comment.

Krasner told reporters that he received a phone call from Johnson shortly after 9 p.m., telling the district attorney that he had been in touch with Hill, who was “expressing concerns that he might be killed if he came out and he had concerns about what would happen to him when he came out, including the future in terms of any possible case.”

At one point, the district attorney said, he was on a four-way call with Johnson, Ross and Hill.

The district attorney said the suspect seemed like he was “very animated, excited” and in a “dangerous state” when he spoke to him on the phone.

Later in the evening, Johnson called Krasner and indicated he could get Hill to leave the house, but Hill wanted to “in some fashion” see Johnson and Krasner.

Both went to the scene, but the police commissioner kept them off the block, Krasner said. Johnson was on the phone with Hill when the suspect exited the property and turned himself over to authorities.

Krasner emphasized that he wasn’t taking credit for the end of the standoff, noting that police ultimately used tear gas to force the suspect out of the house.