City leaders react after dozens of people shot, several killed over holiday weekend in Philadelphia

Annie McCormick Image
Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Dozens shot, several killed during weekend violence in Philadelphia
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More than 30 people have been shot since Friday across Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A total of 34 people were shot over the holiday weekend in Philadelphia, and nine of those victims have died.

During the opening of a spray park in Strawberry Mansion on Monday, Action News asked city leaders what they thought of recent calls to defund the police coinciding with the rise in violence.

Council President Darrell Clarke said, "I'm not connecting the dots on that. The bottom line is there needs to be reform when it relates to police and we have moved forward on a significant number of initiatives, legislation, executive orders to deal with reforms that need to happen."

When we asked Mayor Jim Kenney how citizens who don't necessarily approve of the idea to defund the police who are fearful hearing about the weekend's gun violence, he said, "We're not going to put our citizens in a situation where we have less of an ability to respond to crisis and less of an ability to respond to crime."

According to 6abc's data journalism team, for the first five days of July, at least 45 people were shot in the city. Through July 5 of this year, at least 871 people have been shot in the city. That's a 24 percent increase from the year before.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said there is a larger strategy to combat gun violence with several facets including reassessing how police respond to calls about addiction and homelessness.

She added they are targeting neighborhoods where violence persists and are working closely with other law enforcement agencies, including federal counterparts.

As far as defunding police, she said, "While I do think there are a lot of things the police haven't been responding to, and more money needs to be bolstered around social services, taking money away at these large levels from the police department - I don't think is the way to go."

Outlaw added that community involvement and the police department's relationship with the community is vital.

"None of this will be successful without the inclusion of our community stakeholders. That's important. We know we can't arrest our way out of situations," she said.

The weekend came to a close with a triple shooting on Sunday night in North Philadelphia. It happened around 11:45 p.m. on the 700 block of Russell Street.

Officers said more than a dozen shots were fired.

Less than an hour prior, a man was shot in West Philadelphia. It happened around 11 p.m. on the 1400 block of North 61st Street.

Police said the man had been sitting on his porch when someone approached him and opened fire.

Earlier in the evening, 15-year-old Angelo Walker was shot near the intersection of 63rd Street and Nassau Road in the Overbrook section. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition but later died.

Two more shooting victims, including a 35-year-old man who was shot in the chest and a 36-year-old shot in the backside, showed up at Lankeanu Hospital in a private car.

The 36-year-old is listed in stable condition. The 35-year-old male is being listed in stable, but critical condition.

There have been no arrests in this shooting.

On Sunday, after eight people were shot overnight and several more shootings occurred throughout the day, police made note of the busy and violent holiday weekend.

"It's definitely a busy day: we're facing dual epidemics, preserving life and property," said Philadelphia Police Inspector Jareau Thomas.

Sunday afternoon's stretch of gun violence began with a 6-year-old dead in the city's Holmesburg section around 1 p.m.

Neighbors expressed a lot of heartache and questions lingering about this shooting. "It's a shame when they're young like that," said one resident.

It's how many felt Sunday on the 4600 block of Kendrick Street in the Northeast section.

Police went door-to-door looking for evidence. It's unclear what may have sparked this tragedy.

Police say the child was rushed to Jefferson Torresdale Hospital by a family member. The child initially listed in critical condition, unfortunately later dying from his injuries.

The news coming as shock to many, some who say they never heard any gunshots. "I hear it on the news, I come out and I didn't hear one thing," said resident Greg Van Ball.

Ball says while the neighborhood has been touched by violence in years past, he says this is the first instance of a child being involved.

Questions now linger as to what could have led to this deadly shooting. "It's scary, I have a daughter. Thank god she's not in the neighborhood at this time," said Ball.

Some in the neighborhood say there was a large gathering at the home where this shooting occurred last night. They say nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

As the afternoon turned into evening, single and double shootings continued across the city.

Action News was also at the scene of another homicide at 17th and Wharton Street in the city's Point Breeze section.

Just before 3:30 p.m., 27-year-old Albert Lee was shot multiple times in the body and head and pronounced dead. A 30-year-old man was shot in the back. He is hospitalized in stable condition.

Just a short time earlier, around 2 p.m., a 37-year-old woman was shot 12 times in the torso and pronounced dead at the hospital at 19th and Clarence streets in Port Richmond.

Police said in this incident an arrest was made and the believed weapon recovered.

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Philadelphia Mayor Kenney issued a statement regarding the city's violent weekend:

"This weekend's horrific violence is a stark reminder that COVID-19 isn't the only crisis plaguing our city. Gun violence continues to traumatize our communities and cut Philadelphians lives tragically short. Just today, we lost an innocent six-year-old child, a woman in Kensington, and a man in South Philadelphia, as others were critically wounded in incidents throughout 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. The anonymous tip line is 215-686-TIPS."