'I am heartbroken and outraged,' says Philadelphia mayor after city tops 400 homicides

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said in a statement that she's "devastated by the rising homicide rate."

Sunday, September 26, 2021
'I am heartbroken,' says Philly mayor as city tops 400 homicides
The City of Philadelphia has reached a grim milestone as more than 400 lives have fallen victim to gun violence.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The City of Philadelphia has reached a grim milestone as more than 400 lives have been lost to violence so far in 2021. More than 340 of those deaths were the result of gun violence.

At least four people died and 10 others were injured in the gun violence over the weekend. A man was also shot outside the Philadelphia Marriot early Monday morning.

One of the city's latest shootings left one person dead and two others injured at Hancock and Lippincott streets around 5:11 a.m. Sunday.

A 31-year-old woman was shot in the chest and later died at the hospital.

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"Honestly, I want to live to be past 21 at this point," said Hadir Boswell, one of the many teens touched by Philadelphia's gun violence.

The shooting also critically injured a 39-year-old woman, while a 37-year-old male victim is expected to survive his injuries.

"I am heartbroken and outraged that we've lost more than 400 Philadelphians to preventable violence this year. My heart goes out to all families suffering from enormous grief. Our administration continues to act with urgency to reduce violence and save lives," said Mayor Jim Kenney in a statement on Sunday morning.

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said in a statement that she's "devastated by the rising homicide rate."

"Our department continues to make a record number of crime gun confiscations, and a record number of arrests of the individuals in possession of them. However, this is not nearly enough. We will continue to work with our law enforcement and community partners to bring to justice those who seek to cause harm to our beautiful city and its people," added Outlaw.

Those touched by gun violence, like Mother's in Charge founder and executive director Dr. Dorthy Johnson-Speight, said this rampant violence is testing wills.

"Mother's in Charge and the women that make up this organization have lost loved ones and we know the pain and the devastation of that first hand. So, living through what we're living through now as a result of all these homicides -- it is pain," said Johnson-Speight.

And while some look to place blame, Johnson-Speight wants to invest that energy into something that can yield actual change.

"There is something for each and everyone one of us to be doing and we should be doing it. Everyone from the community, we have a part in this because it's a community issue," she said.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner is hosting a news conference on Monday morning where he's expected to address the ongoing violence.

"We should all be outraged that senseless, preventable violence continues to claim and break lives here in Philadelphia and in communities across the country that are also experiencing alarming increases in gun violence," Krasner said in a statement.

Violent night in Philadelphia causes city to reach over 400 homicides this year

Residents in the city are also fed up as the homicide rate continues to grow.

"That hole never goes away," said Patricia Griffin from Lawncrest.

She wears a necklace of her son Darien Griffin, who was gunned down in 2003 in Philadelphia. She says seeing the growing homicide rate this year only adds to her never-ending pain.

"It's very troubling, no doubt," said State Representative Stephen Kinsey of the 21st legislative district.

Local leaders joined hundreds at Vernon Park Saturday to remember homicide victims and talk about ways to prevent more murders.

"It's not going to end overnight," said Kinsey.

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Organizations like Emir Healing Center focuses on treating trauma caused by gun violence. They are asking the city for more funding.

"We will not get out of violence if we don't change us not being poor and addressing the needs of our people," said Chantay Love, the founder of Emir Healing Center.

Councilmember Cindy Bass, who represents the 8th district, said, "It's way out of control."

Bass says she's looking at long-term and short-term solutions.

"Stop the bleeding, get cops on the ground now, get more money and resources than what we're spending now," said Bass.

Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson spoke about personal responsibility.

"It's going to take for all of us to step up to the plate. We got to do better as a city," said Johnson.

Griffin wants to see action in the City of Brotherly Love so that no other mother has to bury her child because of a deadly shooting.

"We talk about, 'There needs to be programs, there needs to be this, there needs to be that.' We need to start believing that people's lives matter, nobody has the right to take a life," said Griffin.

Griffin also spoke about ending the "no snitch" mentality to get dangerous people off the street. Tips to police can remain anonymous by calling 215-686-TIPS.