LINDSAY WHITEHURST 

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Three police officers were shot in Washington during an attempted animal cruelty arrest that touched off an hours-long standoff Wednesday, police said.

The wounds included injuries to officers' hands and feet, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Pamela Smith said. They were being treated at area hospitals, per the Metropolitan Police Department. A fourth officer was hurt at the scene, but not shot.

The shooter remained barricaded inside a home in the southeast part of the city and continued firing shots hours after opening fire on police, a police spokeswoman said.

The standoff started Wednesday morning as officers attempted to make an arrest on an animal cruelty warrant, but the suspect refused to leave the home, police said. As officers tried to get inside, a person opened fire.

"This remains an active situation and the individual has continued to fire from that location," Smith said.

Crisis negotiators were speaking to the suspect, Smith said as she pushed lawmakers to pass legislation that would strengthen penalties for gun offenses in the nation's capital.

One officer was struck by gunfire twice, but the rounds were stopped by a bulletproof vest, said Gregg Pemberton, chairman of the police union. Two officers were struck in their lower legs. The fourth officer suffered hand injuries at the scene, he said.

"We expect some may have a lengthy recovery, but hopefully they'll be back on the streets again soon," Pemberton said.

It wasn't immediately clear whether the person firing at officers was the subject of the arrest warrant officers were serving.

Roads were closed and schools were locked down in the southeast part of the city and police warned people to stay far from the area as the shooting unfolded.

The incident comes as the District of Columbia is struggling with a sharp increase in violent crime, which went up 39% in 2023. It was largely fueled by a 35% rise in homicides and growth in carjackings, which nearly doubled.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden is praying the officers make full recoveries and called for more congressional action on guns.

"This shooting is yet another distressing and painful reminder of the toll gun violence is inflicting on families, on our communities and, obviously, on our nation," she said.

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Associated Press writer Darlene Superville and editor Michael Balsamo contributed to this report.