Three people were killed and 11 were injured Saturday night in a shooting in downtown Philadelphia, the authorities said.
Police officers were patrolling South Street, a lively area with many restaurants and bars, when “they observed several active shooters shooting into the crowd,” Inspector D.F. Pace of the Philadelphia Police Department said at a news conference early Sunday.
One of the officers had fired at one of the gunmen, but it was unclear whether the gunman had been hit, Inspector Pace said.
Fourteen victims were taken to hospitals after the shooting, he said, adding that among them, two men and a woman had been pronounced dead upon arrival. They are Kristopher Minners, Alexis Quinn and Gregory “Japan” Jackson, according to State Senator Vincent J. Hughes.
Of the 10 patients taken to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, three were dead, three were in stable condition and four had been discharged, said Damien Woods, a spokesman for the hospital.
“You can imagine there were hundreds of individuals just enjoying South Street, as they do every single weekend, when this shooting broke out,” Inspector Pace said.
He said that the investigation was continuing, and that the police would review surveillance footage to help identify the gunmen.
At least two guns have been recovered from the scene, one with an extended magazine, Inspector Pace said, adding that numerous shell casings littered the surrounding area.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney released a statement on Sunday morning expressing his condolences to the families of the victims and calling for more firearm restrictions. “We cannot accept continued violence as a way of life in our country,” he said. “Until we address the availability and ease of access to firearms, we will always be fighting an uphill battle.”
The shooting was the 10th in Philadelphia over the course of Friday and Saturday, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit organization that tracks shooting deaths. The other nine shootings each had a single victim; one resulted in death. There was another shooting on High Street on Tuesday resulting in one injury.
Meghan Ford, who was working at a bar down the block from the shooting, said that from the beginning of the evening shift, “something was in the air,” with swarms of teenagers and commotion.
“This has been the second one on a Saturday night right here,” Ms. Ford said. “And it’s freaking heartbreaking.”
The Gun Violence Archive has counted nearly 240 mass shootings so far this year, defined as one in which four or more people were killed or injured. Shootings in the United States rose sharply during the pandemic.
This weekend’s spate of violence followed a series of shootings that have captured the national attention including the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and the racist attack on supermarket shoppers in Buffalo, New York. These incidents led to a renewed focus on gun control legislation in Congress.
Senators continued working through the weekend to see if they could reach a compromise on legislation expanding the nation’s background check system, as well as sending money toward mental health resources, school security and the implementation of red flag laws across the state.
Two veterans of failed negotiations in the past — Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, a Democrat, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, a Republican — said in separate interviews on Sunday that they believed they were closer to a deal than compared to previous attempts.
“It’s a test of the federal government as to whether we will deliver at a moment of just fierce anxiety among the American public, so we’re closer than ever before,” Mr. Murphy said, speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Mr. Murphy acknowledged that an assault weapons ban, a universal background check law or other gun restrictions will not be part of a final compromise in order to win the necessary Republican votes, even as House Democrats prepare to force a series of votes on individual gun bills that do not have Republican support.
Mr. Toomey, who saw his own party filibuster the background check deal he helped strike with Democrats after the Sandy Hook shooting, said he hoped to see at least half the Republican conference in the Senate support a final agreement.
Dakota Santiago contributed reporting.
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