Girl, 6, injured in shooting during July 4th fireworks in Camden, New Jersey

Officials say the gunfire erupted after a dispute between two groups approximately a block and a half away from the celebration.

TaRhonda Thomas Image
Wednesday, July 5, 2023
Girl, 6, injured in shooting during July 4th fireworks in Camden
A 6-year-old girl was wounded after a shooting during the Camden, New Jersey fireworks show on Tuesday night.

CAMDEN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Upwards of 20,000 people enjoyed a day of July 4th festivities at the Camden Waterfront on Tuesday.

But their peace was interrupted by gunfire that left a 6-year-old girl injured.

Police say the teen who is believed to be the suspected shooter is from Philadelphia, and one official didn't mince words when it came to the subject of crime coming from across the bridge.

"We just want to send a message to thugs and criminals and gun-bearing freaks in Philadelphia who live in a society of lawlessness. We don't want you here," said Camden County Commissioner Louis Cappelli Jr.

Cappelli is fed up with what he says is a problem.

"The mentality in Philadelphia seems to be they can do whatever they want and they presume they can do that here as well," he said.

The latest example, Camden officials say, happened at Wiggins Waterfront Park on Mickle Boulevard and Riverside Drive.

News conference on shooting during Camden fireworks that left 6-year-old girl injured.

Cell phone video from a person attending the fireworks display showed some people running after at least one shot was fired. It happened at approximately 10:10 p.m. on Tuesday during the fireworks show.

"Two groups encountered one another in passing. An argument ensued between the groups," said Deputy Chief Janell Simpson of the Camden County Police Department.

That argument happened about a block away from the crowd. Police suspect a teen in one of those groups fired a gun, hitting a six-year-old girl in the left knee.

An ambulance took her to Cooper University Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Three other people also sustained minor injuries as they left the scene.

"It was a senseless act," said Mayor Victor Carstarphen (D - Camden). "No community deserves anything like that to happen."

Police recovered a gun at the scene. They found it along the path that the suspected shooter was traveling.

He was in custody on Tuesday night, but he was later released to his parents as investigators gather evidence they need to make an arrest.

Simpson said she's confident that police can complete the necessary work to make an arrest.

"We know where they are," she said of the suspect.

Police were already in place at Tuesday's festivities. It lead to the potential suspect being detained quickly.

"They acted fast they were right on it," Carstarphen said of police.

Just hours earlier, the Action Cam was on the waterfront as people enjoyed a concert. The area is one that the city of Camden has worked to build up as it focused on reducing crime.

Officials want to ensure residents can continue to enjoy the waterfront safely.

"We've made 10 years of significant progress of reducing crime in this city," said Cappelli, "We are not going to let that go backwards."

Anyone with information on Tuesday night's shooting is asked to contact Camden Police. Tipsters can remain anonymous. The phone number for the 24-hour tip line is 856-757-7042.