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PHILADELPHIA -- A man who got into three separate shootouts with Philadelphia police in the span an hour was eventually shot and killed early Friday in the Strawberry Mansion section of the city.

The gun battles with police started around midnight and occurred on three different blocks before the final exchange at 27th Street and Taney Terrace.

Police said 32-year-old Lamont Norman had 17 prior arrests and had been living in a halfway house that he walked away from in the summer after a life of crime.

He had been released in April while serving a prison sentence for a 2000 armed robbery with a gun.

"We do have several shell casings recovered, a weapon recovered," Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said.

Police said Norman began firing at plain-clothes detectives working a burglary detail. (One of the detectives returned to the scene Friday morning to act out for investigators exactly what happened and lead them to where it all happened).

Officers had chased the man around the corner of Montgomery Avenue and Taney Street, then around the corner of Etting Street, where the man hid in a small lot between row homes, where the team of SWAT officers found him.

"Fortunately we didn't have any officers injured during this. But we did have a situation where shots were fired at police, police gave pursuit, apparently at some point in time SWAT was called in. They were able to located the individual, another exchange of gunfire and the individual is now deceased," Ramsey said.

A Fox 29 news photographer was rolling when the SWAT team swarmed the area, and the final, fatal shot was fired.

Investigators said the gunman did not have any identification on him, but a weapon was recovered and drugs were believed to be involved.

"Well, it was pretty violent out there, and burglaries have been a problem. My understanding is that possibly a drug transaction was also taking place. … That's what it looks like, but I'll find out more as the day goes on, as I start to read all of the reports," Ramsey said.

The police commissioner has not even been in Philadelphia for a year yet, but he's already dealt with a series of shootings at police, and many where the officers have been found fully justified to fire back and kill.

"Violent crime is down this year, but the attacks on police are up. So that's something of great concern," Ramsey said.

Police said Norman's history included robbery, weapons, drugs and aggravated assault arrests and convictions. He was sentenced in 2002 to five to 10 years in prison for that latest armed robbery, and police said it was an early release.
FOX 29
 
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