Officer injured in Wissinoming shootout

A 15th District officer was shot after police exchanged gunfire with a man outside a SEPTA bus on Torresdale Avenue.

Crime scene investigators review the scene of a shooting Thursday on the 5900 block of Torresdale Ave. JACK TOMCZUK / TIMES PHOTO

A 15th Police District officer was shot Thursday morning after a man exited a SEPTA bus and opened fire in Wissinoming.

Officer Donald Revill, 37, a 12-year veteran of the department, was hit in the right forearm and was released later in the day after receiving treatment at Jefferson Torresdale Hospital, police said.

The suspect, 54-year-old Walter Farrell, was shot multiple times and taken to Temple University Hospital in critical condition. He was released on Friday and now faces three counts of attempted murder, among other charges. 

Officer Donald Revill

It all started with a 911 call around 10 a.m. reporting a “man with a gun” in the area of the 5100 block of Comly Street.

An officer responding to the scene spotted a man fitting the description boarding a Route 56 bus on Torresdale Avenue and put out the information over police radio, according to authorities.

Police said two other officers in a marked squad car pulled in front of the bus to stop it on the 5900 block of Torresdale near Howell Street. They boarded the bus, and the suspect allegedly pulled out a gun and pointed it at them.

Police said the officers “tactically retreated” from the bus, and the man followed them out and opened fire.

A preliminary investigation shows both officers returned fire. Then, Revill arrived at the scene and engaged in a tussle with the suspect, police said. Authorities said Revill didn’t fire his weapon.

Investigators on the scene Thursday afternoon marked at least 14 shell casings on Torresdale between Comly and Howell.

“It could have been a way worse situation,” Acting Police Commissioner Christine Coulter told reporters. “It’s just an example of how something that, sometimes, seems routine could turn into something very tragic very quickly.” 

Farrell on Friday morning was charged with multiple counts of attempted murder, aggravated assault, assault on a law enfrocement officer and other crimes. He was carrying a gun illegally, according to the District Attorney’s Office. 

Walter Farrell

A judge denied Farrell bail.

The District Attorney’s Office said it does not appear Farrell had a permanent address, though police say he lived on the 4100 block of Frankford Avenue.

In 2006, Farrell pleaded guilty to stalking and trespassing and was sentenced to nine to 23 months in prison. He received probation in 2005 for drug possession and a DUI and was previously sentenced to three to six years in prison for drug offenses stemming from an arrest in 1989, according to court documents. 

It’s still unclear what preceded the initial 911 call on Thursday. 

Coulter said about 15 people were on the bus at the time of the incident. None of them were injured.

Police did not identify the officers who shot the suspect. Both were uninjured, police said.

The shooting is still under investigation. ••