Philadelphia trauma nurse reveals emotional toll of gun violence

"I feel like I'm on the battlegrounds now," the nurse told Action News.

6abc Digital Staff Image
Friday, October 1, 2021
Philly trauma nurse reveals toll of gun violence
With the number of Philadelphia homicides surpassing 412 victims, shattering records in the last 14 years, it is clear the city is in the middle of a war with violence.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- With the number of Philadelphia homicides surpassing 412 victims, it is clear the city is in the middle of a war with violence.

"I never signed up to be a battleground nurse, and I feel like I'm on the battlegrounds now," said Ruqiyya Greer, a trauma nurse in Philadelphia.

Greer says she's haunted by what she encounters and said she's about to leave the profession entirely.

"Just about every day, I pull bodies out of cars, my coworkers and I," said Greer. "I never signed up to hear a mother cry when you tell her her son is dead. Those sounds that you hear, they replay in your head days and days afterward."

City officials are now grappling with nine people shot Thursday overnight. Three of the victims were children ages 11, 12, and 15.

RELATED: Philadelphia children shot on eve of gun violence prevention conference

According to the 6abc Data Journalism team, September was the deadliest month in six years, with 52 fatal shootings. It falls just below October 2020, with 53 people killed.

"It's just a disgrace, what's really happening to these people," said Mariah Cannon of North Philadelphia. "You can't sit on your own step. You can't do nothing."

ALSO RELATED: Philadelphia homicides involving women have doubled this year, data shows

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw was out of town when asked for an interview but sent 6abc a statement:

"Last night's violence highlights, yet again, the callousness with which shooters are willing to carry out their violence. Amongst nine people that were shot yesterday, three were homicides, and three were children, ages 11, 12, and 15- children who were injured during unsolicited attacks. While we are hopeful that the surviving victims' injuries will heal, the fact remains that these lives are forever changed by these senseless acts. It's time that the community work together and work with police to ensure that these dangerous individuals are taken off the street and held accountable for their actions."

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney also sent 6abc a statement that reads:

"Last night's horrific violence over just a few hours heartbreakingly shows the crisis plaguing our city. Gun violence continues to traumatize our communities and cut Philadelphians' lives short. Last night, four people lost their lives, and three children were injured in several incidents across the city. My heart breaks for their loved ones, and I extend my deepest sympathies as they process this unimaginable loss. The Philadelphia Police Department is conducting thorough investigations, and I urge the public to come forward and report any tips that can help find the individuals responsible. Our administration takes this crisis very seriously, and we're acting with urgency to reduce violence through many means. We urge people with information to report it through our anonymous tip line: call or text at 215-686-TIPS (8477). There is a $20,000 reward on all homicides cases for information that leads to an arrest and conviction."