3 shot as 2 rival groups exchange gunfire at Eid al-Fitr event in Philly, marking end of Ramadan

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel said some 30 shots were fired but, luckly, no one was killed.

3 shot, 5 in custody after gunfire erupts at Eid al-Fitr event in West Philadelphia
You could see strollers and coolers abandoned in the park, as people ran from the gunshots.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- UPDATE: Philadelphia police ID suspect arrested after gunfire erupts near Eid al-Fitr event

Three people were shot and five people are in custody after gunfire erupted in a Philadelphia park where an Eid al-Fitr event, to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, was taking place Wednesday.

Gunfire erupted around 2:30 p.m. near Clara Muhammad Square in the area of 47th Street and Wyalusing Avenue in West Philadelphia as an estimated 1,000 people were at the celebration.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel said two factions inside the park exchanged gunfire, and some 30 shots were fired.

Amid the gunfire, one of the officers engaged an armed 15-year-old male suspect, shooting that teen in the shoulder and leg. The officer secured the gun and then took the teen to the hospital in stable condition, police said.

Sources tell Action News that the teen was armed with a rifle, however, it's still unknown if the weapon was fired.

The discharging officer has been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation.

A total of five weapons were recovered at the scene.

Investigators say the five suspects include four males and a female. They are between the ages of 15 and 21.

What we know about the victims

A 22-year-old man suffered a gunshot wound to the stomach, while a 15-year-old boy arrived at the hospital with a gunshot wound to his hands.

Both victims are listed as stable. Police say there were no fatalities as a result of the shooting.

The 22-year-old was identified by family as Nhashon "Tawfiq" Richards. His father, Corey Taylor, told Action News that his son was alert and responsive but will likely need surgery.

Nhashon "Tawfiq" Richards

After having time to reflect on what happened, Taylor said he forgives the shooters because of his faith.

"I forgive them because I want Allah to forgive me for everything I did in my lifetime," Taylor said. "I'm not perfect -- that's how it's easy for me to forgive, I don't mean that you go allow someone to hurt you again but I try to lead by example. I try not to be a hypocrite."

Amid the chaos, Bethel said a police vehicle struck a 15-year-old and she suffered a fractured leg. Bethel said the department is sending prayers to her and will be reaching out to her family.

Philadelphia police update on shooting amid celebration to mark end of Ramadan

Video from Chopper 6 showed multiple tables, chairs and tents that were abandoned in the chaos.

"I just saw everybody just running and frantic, you know, everybody. The kids, people's strollers getting turned over, everybody screaming," said one witness who did not want to be identified. "I heard fireworks... and it sort of turned into gunshots."

"Everybody just ran away like it was an elephant stampede," she continued.

Philadelphia woman says gunfire chaos was like an 'elephant stampede'

Police officers could be seen conducting a meticulous search for shell casings and evidence of gunfire.

Commissioner Bethel praised the efforts of the Philadelphia Police Department, stating, "I'm extremely proud of the men and women who continued to serve in this department and the actions they took today."

He also lauded the bravery of civilians who, amidst the chaos, ensured the safety of children by removing them from harm's way.

Bethel underscored the unexpected nature of the incident, given the celebratory context, "We know that the majority, 99% of the individuals at this event, are good people who wanted to have a good time."

The violence, according to Bethel, was a stark reminder of the issues facing the community, particularly concerning youth engagement in gun violence.

According to our 6abc Data Journalism Team, there have been 266 shooting victims in Philadelphia so far this year. Of those victims, 30 of them are under 18 years old.

"It's stupid and it's nonsense. Peoples' lives is priceless, appreciate and value your life," said Taylor.

'You had little babies out there'

Najah Bey said her cousin Nhashon "Tawfiq" Richards was shot while fleeing the gunfire.

"We applied pressure and they put him right into the cop car," she recalled.

Relative of Philadelphia shooting victim recalls chaos fleeing gunfire

Bey said it was a happy day filled with cultural and religious celebration, and it just quickly turned to chaos.

"It was very scary to see all of them people laying down on the ground like that in fear of their lives. It's sad in Philadelphia, it's very sad. You can't even have a celebration without having to worry about somebody getting shot. It's sad. You had little babies out there," she said.

Zania Weatherford had just gone to her car for a moment when she heard the gunfire and saw people running across the street. She called relatives at the event to make sure they were safe.

"Last year, someone set off firecrackers and scared everyone," Weatherford said. "This is just a celebration of life for God to forgive us for our sins. There's one month that God chains the devil down, so whoever did this can't even blame the devil."

The shooting incident is under investigation. Local law enforcement are collaborating with federal partners, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the FBI.

Chopper 6 overhead after gunfire erupts at Eid al-Fitr event in Parkside on April 10, 2024.

What is Eid al-Fitr?

As the holy month of Ramadan comes to an end, Muslims are celebrating the holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

Eid marks the end of Ramadan, a month when devout Muslims fast daily from dawn to sunset.

Eid al-Fitr means the feast, or festival, of breaking the fast. The holiday is marked with congregational prayers and festivities, which typically include family visits, gatherings, and new clothes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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