Five dead in Philadelphia-area shooting spree that’s nation’s worst violence yet around July 4

Police investigate the scene of a shooting Monday, July 3, 2023 in Philadelphia. Police say a gunman in a bulletproof vest has opened fire on the streets of Philadelphia, killing several people and wounding two boys before he surrendered to responding officers.

A 40-year-old man with a rifle, a pistol, a bulletproof vest, extra magazines and a police scanner fatally shot four men in a Philadelphia neighborhood and chased and killed a fifth man inside a house, police said.

A 2-year-old boy and a 13-year-old were also wounded in the Monday night massacre that made the working-class area of Kingsessing the site of the nation’s worst violence around the July 4 holiday.

The gunman fired at police as they chased him for blocks, police said. When they caught up, he surrendered in an alley, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said at a news conference. The shooter had no prior connection to the victims, she said.

“Thank God our officers were on the scene and responded as quickly as they did. I can’t even describe the level of bravery and courage that was shown, in addition to the restraint that was shown here,” Outlaw said.

About four hours after the Philadelphia shooting, fatal gunfire rang out at a neighborhood festival in Fort Worth, Texas, leaving three people dead and eight injured.

A day earlier, a holiday weekend block party in Baltimore, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) to the southwest, was marred when two people were killed and 28 others were wounded in a shooting. More than half of the victims were minors, officials said.

In Philadelphia, officers were flagged down at about 8:30 p.m. Monday. Multiple calls reporting shots fired also came from Kingsessing. Police found some victims and heard more shots as they were helping them, Outlaw said. Police told Fox 29 that a fifth victim had been chased into his home and shot to death. Bullet casings were found outside the home

A second person was also taken into custody and may have returned fire at the suspect. Police did not know whether there was a connection between the two, Outlaw said.

She said that officers found dozens of shell casings strewn across eight blocks.

“You can see there are several scenes out here,”
“We’re canvassing the area to get as much as we can, to identify witnesses, to identify where cameras are located and to do everything to figure out the why,” Outlaw said.

Three of the dead were 20 to 59 years old, while the fourth, who had not yet been identified, was estimated to be between 16 and 21. The victim found in his home was 31 years old. All were male.

The wounded boys were in stable condition, Outlaw said.

Tim Eads said he heard fireworks and then gunshots and saw police cars “flying by.” His wife was on the second floor “looking out the bay window and saw the shooter actually coming down this street here behind me.” Eads saw the other man with a pistol who, may have been firing at the shooter.

“He was using my car as a shield shooting out into the street,” Eads said.

A resident named Roger who declined to give his last name said he and his family were eating in the living room at about 8:30 p.m. when they heard eight to 10 gunshots.

“Everybody thought it was fireworks but … been around here about three years so I heard it enough,” he said. “I looked out the window and seen a bunch of people running.”

He said he heard about four more shots and “thought it was the end of it.” Ten minutes later, he said, police came “flying down here,” and about five minutes later he heard rapid gunfire open up right outside the house.

About four hours after the Philadelphia shooting, fatal gunfire rang out at a neighborhood festival in Fort Worth, Texas, leaving three people dead and eight injured.

The Philadelphia violence is the country’s 29th mass killing in 2023, according to a database maintained by The Associated Press and USA Today in partnership with Northeastern University, the highest on record by this time in the year.

The numbers people killed in such events is also the highest by this time in the year.

There have been more than 550 mass killings since 2006, according to the database, in which at least 2,900 people have died and at least 2,000 people have been injured.

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