Emergency meetings on gun violence to begin Tuesday following weekend shootings in Philadelphia

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Monday, August 10, 2020
2 killed, many wounded during violent weekend in Philadelphia
Shootings in Philadelphia over the weekend left two people dead and numerous others wounded, including two children.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Emergency hearings in front of Philadelphia City Council's Special Committee on Gun Violence Prevention will begin virtually on Tuesday.

Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, who is the committee chair, organized a "Peace Not Guns" rally on the eve of the hearings at City Hall. Both events come on the heels of a violent year and month specifically for gun violence against children.

More than a dozen shootings in Philadelphia over the weekend left two people dead and numerous others wounded, authorities said, including two children and a pregnant woman.

An 11-year-old boy suffered a graze wound to the back Sunday night in a shooting that also left two adults wounded, authorities said. That came a day after another child suffered graze wounds to his head and shoulder when he was struck by a stray bullet.

The pregnant woman was shot and wounded around 9:20 p.m. Saturday when witnesses said several shooters opened fire on a group of people who had gathered at a park for a barbecue.

Details on the two fatal shootings were not disclosed.

According to 6abc's Data Journalism Team, 102 children under the age of 18 have been shot this year. Eight have died - a nearly 70% increase from last year.

Overall, more than 1,100 people have been shot - a 36% increase from last year.

Johnson says during the hearings they will question city and law enforcement agencies. He's also called on the ATF for help and is asking The Philadelphia School District to implement a program to help children cope with the trauma of shootings.

"The City of Philadelphia is in a state of emergency right now. We are going to have a marathon of emergency hearings around this issue we want to know what's the plan with the Philadelphia police commissioner, what's the plan with our DA?" Johnson said. "There are some initiatives that have been rolled out, so we will get an update on where we are ... but most importantly if it's working, the status of it, and if there are any gaps we need to fill in."

Mothers who have lost their sons to gun violence question what will come out of the hearings.

"Every day another murder is me reliving my son's murder ... that's unsolved," said Yullio Robbins, whose son, James Walker, was murdered.

Cheryl Pedro's son Mario was also murdered and Pedro and Robbins have bonded over their losses.

"What are we really going to benefit out of the next hearing? What can they do, what can be done?" Pedro said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.