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Trooper shooting, school bus fire shut down major freeway through Philadelphia

Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Patrick Casey is in stable condition after a shooting this morning at about 9:45 a.m. left the Vine Street Expressway riddled with bullets. Preliminary reports suggest gunfire began after a man slammed a vehicle into a school bus, causing the bus to catch fire.

17-year-old Giovanni Cotto was arrested and charged with attempted murder and other offenses in the incident. He’s being held at the state police barracks in Wynnefield Heights.

The bus, empty of children when it caught fire, was engulfed in flames and the incident backed up traffic on Vine Street, I-76 up to Girard Avenue and on roads surrounding Center City. A survey released yesterday ranked the 0.3 mile stretch of the Vine Street Expressway between the Schuylkill and the North 24th Street exit as the 47th-most-congested bottleneck in the U.S.

Here’s 6ABC’s live stream. Here’s what we know about the incident as of 7 a.m Wednesday:

The crash and shooting

  • The state trooper who was shot in the back and shoulder was taken to Hahnemann Hospital and is reportedly in stable condition. He was revealed to be Patrick Casey in a news conference at 1:30. Casey was shot while in his car.
  • No children were on the bus that was rear-ended and the driver of the bus is reportedly OK. 
  • A witness told Action News that he witnessed a gunfight between troopers and suspects that lasted for about two minutes, and police marking shell casings on the scene had marked more than nine spots on the Vine Street Expressway.
  • Citing police sources, 6ABC reported the incident started with a traffic stop on the highway. Two suspects were taken out of the car and patted down when two others in the car attempted to speed away, running into the school bus and causing them both to burst into flames.
  • After the impact with the bus, at least one man in the car jumped out of the car and engaged in gunfire with state troopers on the scene.
  • Officials including Mayor Michael Nutter and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey gathered at the hospital where the state trooper was taken following the crash.

What’s happening now

  • After closures of many of the roads and highways near the scene, everything has been reopened as of about 1:30 p.m.
  • Police are still searching for two suspects in the shooting; a photo of one was released late Tuesday.
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