PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia police say they have made 23 homicide arrests in recent weeks as the city continues to grapple with a surge in gun violence.
Three of the homicide arrests were for several high-profile cases, police announced on Wednesday.
Police say 19-year-old Arshad Curry is the alleged killer of two teen athletes who were gunned down in July.
Sixteen-year-old K.J. Johnson of Boys Latin Charter School was killed along with his friend, 18-year-old Tommie Frazier, who attended Simon Gratz. A third teen not identified by police was also wounded.
And two arrests were also made in the November 16 slaying of Ahmir Jones at 17th Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue.
Jones's mother told Action News he was protecting his girlfriend from the two men who robbed them. Police identified the alleged 16-year-old killers as Syreef Blackwell and Jameer Martin.
Robert Jiles, 64, was also among the homicide suspects arrested in the past three weeks. Detectives say he shot and killed Aruna Mittal while she operated her check-cashing business on Old York Road.
Both city and police officials highlighted the strides they say they are making in gun violence prevention. Thirty-one gun violence prevention grants were just issued to a group of organizations.
"When those most vulnerable to gun violence are engaged in positive activity, you see a reduction," said Erica Atwood of the Office of Policy and Strategic Initiatives.
Atwood stressed that these programs target the youth who are most vulnerable to gun violence.
Mayor Jim Kenney called the programs bold and different to respond to the urgency of the gun violence crisis.
More than 500 homicides have been recorded in the city to date, according to Philadelphia police data.