President Donald Trump said on Aug. 15 that the man who allegedly fired at six Philadelphia police officers during a standoff should “never have been allowed to be on the streets.”
“The Philadelphia shooter should never have been allowed to be on the streets,” Trump posted on Twitter. “He had a long and very dangerous criminal record. Looked like he was having a good time after his capture, and after wounding so many police.”
The Philadelphia shooter should never have been allowed to be on the streets. He had a long and very dangerous criminal record. Looked like he was having a good time after his capture, and after wounding so many police. Long sentence – must get much tougher on street crime!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 15, 2019
The president also called for a long sentence for the alleged gunman. He said, “Long sentence—must get much tougher on street crime!”
The man has been identified by his lawyer as 36-year-old Maurice Hill. Hill allegedly fired at police starting on the afternoon of Wednesday, Aug. 14, after opening fire when police tried serving a narcotics warrant. It wasn’t clear if he was the target of the warrant. Hill finally surrendered early Thursday morning.
All the officers involved in the shooting have since been released from the hospital. Three other officers suffered injuries related to the incident, including one who was injured in a car crash while rushing to the scene. At least one remained in the hospital.
The 36-year-old has an extensive criminal history relating to firearms and has been in and out of prison over the last 18 years, including a 55-month stint in 2010.
According to a court summary report (pdf), Hill was first arrested when he was 18 years old for possessing a gun with an altered serial number. He has since been arrested about 12 more times, including six arrests that involved illegal possession of guns. Other convictions include drug dealing, robbery, aggravated assault, fleeing from police, perjury, and false imprisonment.
Trump’s comments come at a time after expressing his wish to expand background checks in response to two mass shootings last week in Ohio and Texas. Throughout the week following the massacres, the president said there were “serious discussions” taking place in Congress about strengthening gun laws and that he had also spoken to congressional leaders in the House and Senate about it.
“Serious discussions are taking place between House and Senate leadership on meaningful Background Checks. I have also been speaking to the NRA, and others, so that their very strong views can be fully represented and respected,” Trump said on Twitter on Aug. 9.
Trump repeatedly said that he believes guns should be kept away from mentally unstable people.
“We don’t want insane people, mentally ill people, bad people, dangerous people. We don’t want guns in the hands of the wrong people,” Trump told reporters.
“I think that the Republicans are going to be great and lead the charge along with the Democrats,” Trump said.
“We have tremendous support for really common sense, sensible important background checks,” he added.
Along with stronger background checks, the president and Congress are also considering implementing red flag laws.
Epoch Times reporter Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.