'Beyond devastating': Lawmakers call for action after 3 killed, 11 injured in South Street shooting
PHILADELPHIA - Mayor Jim Kenney says the ‘beyond devastating’ shooting on South Street that claimed the lives of three people Saturday night is "yet another horrendous, brazen and despicable act of gun violence."
A total of 14 people were reportedly struck after shots rang out near the 200 block of South Street just before midnight. Three people, two men and a woman, were later pronounced dead at the hospital.
The mayor said this most recent shooting has left him "not just heartbroken, but angry" in a statement released after the shooting:
"The events that transpired last evening on South Street are beyond devastating. Once again, we see lives senselessly lost and those injured in yet another horrendous, brazen and despicable act of gun violence. My heart is with the family, friends, loved ones of those lost or injured, and with everyone impacted by this terrible tragedy.
"The Police Department is investigating this heinous crime to ensure the people who are responsible are brought to justice. I urge anyone with information about this incident, or any other crimes, to report it to 215-686-TIPS. Tips can be submitted anonymously. This is a complex, ongoing investigation and we will release more information about this incident as information becomes available.
"Our city—and country—have experienced a steep rise in gun violence over the past few years. We’ve spent these years grappling with this rising epidemic and doing everything in our power not only to stop it but to try to understand why the violence continues—it’s senseless, needless, and deeply troubling.
"I know this shooting has shaken many people in our community. The safety of our residents and visitors is our top priority. We cannot accept continued violence as a way of life in our country. Until we address the availability and ease of access to firearms, we will always be fighting an uphill battle. As Mayor, I will continue to fight to protect our communities and urge others to advocate for stronger laws that keep guns out of the hands of violent individuals.
"The surge in gun violence that we’ve seen across the nation—and here in Philadelphia—makes me not just heartbroken, but angry. Our administration, in partnership with all of our local and federal law enforcement agencies, continues to work relentlessly to reduce violence and create safer communities."
Multiple gunmen were seen firing into a crowd, according to Police Inspector D.F. Pace. Packed crowds of people were seen fleeing from the deadly scene in surveillance footage from nearby businesses.
Authorities say no arrests have been made but that two weapons -both handguns - were recovered.
State and local Philadelphia lawmakers and leaders responded to the deadly incident, calling for action against gun violence.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf called out legislators directly, "Enough gun violence. Enough deaths. Let’s act."
"The terrible crimes last night on South Street tell our Pennsylvania legislators it’s time for real action," said DA Larry Kasner. "Boycott NRA lobbyists, boycott NRA donations, and bring real common sense gun regulation to Pennsylvania. Now."
Councilmember Mark Squilla declared that "drastic measures" were needed after the shooting which occurred on the streets of his First District.
"We need to stop pointing fingers at everyone else and take full responsibility for what is happening in our city," Squilla said in a statement. "In Philadelphia, lawlessness has become a way of life."
The South Street Headhouse District said they were "devastated" by the violence that erupted in their district Saturday night.
"Several people lost their lives and many were injured. This is not okay," they said in a statement. "This is heartbreaking, senseless, and does not reflect the community of businesses, residents, and visitors that walk our streets every day.
"The mass shooting on South Street last night is horrible," City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart said in a tweet. "The terror of gun violence across our city must be stopped, over 920 people have been shot in Philly so far this year. We need urgency from leadership to stop this, NOW."
City council member Jamie Gauthier said the "horrifying" shooting on Philadelphia's famous South Street proves "this can occur anywhere, at any time."
"At this point, every city agency and elected official in Philadelphia should be meeting daily to discuss and implement solutions," Gauthier said in a tweet.
Helen Gym, also a council member in Philadelphia, said the "level of inhumanity right now is off the charts" after two deadly weekends in a row.
Anti-gun violence group CeaseFireIPA called on "every Pennsylvanian to join together to demand action."
"It’s time our elected officials allow us to be free," said Executive Director Adam Garber. "Free to party with friends on the weekend. To worship together in peace. To learn without psychologically-damaging active shooter drills. We are not free, because we as a nation live in constant fear. That will only change when our elected officials act."