A heavily armed gunman wearing a bulletproof vest launched a deadly attack in Philadelphia last night, killing four men and wounding two children in a mass shooting that has rocked the city.
Armed with an AR-style rifle and a pistol, the 40-year-old suspect, who has yet to be identified, began shooting random passersby as he stalked the streets of the mostly residential Kingsessing neighborhood looking for more victims to kill.
The gunman had tried to outwit the cops using a police scanner, but ten minutes after unleashing his violent wave of weapons, the mass shooter was arrested by police officers who chased him through the streets as he opened fire.
The mass shooting, which took place in a two-by-four block radius around 8:30 p.m. last night, left three men between the ages of 20 and 59 dead. Another man, believed to be between the ages of 16 and 21, was also shot dead. Two other victims, ages 2 and 13, were hospitalized in stable condition, police said.
Families had been enjoying the Fourth of July festivities on the streets of the Kingsessing neighborhood when the gunman began shooting at his unsuspecting victims.
The shooter was quickly pursued and arrested by police officers, who discovered that the suspect was armed with an AR-style rifle, a pistol, and several magazines in his bulletproof vest. He was also carrying a police scanner.
A second person who police believe “took the gun and returned fire in the direction of the shooter” was also in custody, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said at an evening news conference.
Police place a rifle in a bag at the scene of a shooting on July 3, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
“At this point, all we know is that this person decided to leave their home and attack people,” Outlaw said, noting that the shooter apparently had no connection to any of the victims.
A brief security camera video shows the shooter calmly walking down the street while shooting at people before responding officers chased after the suspect as he continued to fire.
Outlaw said he didn’t know if the suspect was shooting with his rifle or pistol at the time police were chasing him, but confirmed he was “actively shooting.” She said the officers managed to corner the suspect in the alley before ordering him to show his hands and arresting him.
‘Thank God our officers responded as quickly as they did. I can’t even describe the level of bravery and courage that was shown,” Outlaw said.
Officers were flagged down around 8:30pm, and multiple calls for shots came in from Kingsessing.
Philadelphia police were dispatched to 56th Street and Chester Avenue, where they found multiple victims, some of whom were fatally injured.
Officers then heard multiple shots further up Kingsessing Avenue, where they found “multiple casings.” Troopers moved further down the street before hearing more gunshots in the area of the 1800 block of Frazier Street.
“At some point, the suspect was located and officers were able to give chase on foot,” Outlaw said. They chased him from Kingsessing along Frazier Street to Springfield while the male fired.
Officers were then able to apprehend the suspect in the back alley of the 1600 block of Frazier Street and discovered that he was armed with the rifle, pistol, several magazines, and a police scanner. The police did not fire any shots.
Police spokeswoman Jasmine Reilly told the network that four victims were taken to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center and two to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Outlaw told a news conference that all four victims of the mass shooting were male, including the 2-year-old boy and the 13-year-old boy. The FBI defines a mass shooting as an incident in which at least four people are killed with a weapon.
She described the scene as covering an area of two by four blocks and said around 50 spent bullet casings were found.
“At this point, you can see there are multiple scenes here,” Outlaw said. “We’re investigating the area to get everything we can, identify witnesses, identify where the cameras are, and do everything we can to find out why.”
Three of the dead were between the ages of 20 and 59. Outlaw said police have yet to identify the fourth victim, but believe she could be between the ages of 16 and 21.
Four people were killed and four more injured, including two minors, after a mass shooting in Philadelphia Monday night when a man wearing a ballistic vest was taken into custody.
Brief security camera video shows the shooter simply walking down the street, shooting at people.
Responding officers pursued the suspect as he continued to fire, and he was arrested in an alley after surrendering, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said at a news conference.
The attacker had a bulletproof vest, several magazines, an ‘AR type rifle’, a pistol and a police scanner, he added.
Philadelphia police were dispatched to 56th Street and Chester Avenue, where they found several victims.
Police spokeswoman Jasmine Reilly told the network that six victims were taken to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center and two to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
There did not appear to be a connection between the shooter and the victims. The suspect was arrested in an alley without incident, Outlaw said.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, a Democrat, tweeted about the shooting about two hours later.
“Appalled by reports of a shooting in Southwest Philadelphia,” he said. “My heart goes out to the loved ones and families of everyone involved, and I send my prayers to the victims.”
“My sincerest thanks to @PhillyPolice for their courageous response and the successful apprehension of a suspect.”
Philadelphia’s violence is the nation’s 29th mass murder in 2023, the highest on record for this time of year.
And the Kingsessing neighborhood is becoming increasingly dangerous, say the locals.
“It’s getting worse,” Emma Hilton, 70, who lives in the 1600 block of South 56th Street, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. ‘My children [are] getting ready to get me out of here.
He said that with the mass shootings around the corner, he is now thinking of moving further south to be with his children. They’ve been trying to talk her into it for years.
“He’s never been on this block,” said Hilton, who has lived in his home for 11 years. She has really gotten worse. It’s time to go.’
The mass shooting occurred a day after gunfire erupted at a weekend party in Baltimore, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) to the southwest, killing two people and wounding 28 others. Those injured in that shooting ranged from 13 and 32 years old, more than half of them minors, according to authorities.
Police work at the scene of a shooting on July 3, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The suspected shooter was identified as a 40-year-old man. Another person was in custody, but further details were not immediately available.
The Philadelphia violence marks the 29th mass murder in the country in 2023, according to a database maintained by The Associated Press and USA Today in partnership with Northeastern University.
So far this year, the nation has witnessed the highest number of mass murders and deaths on record to date in a single year.
There have been more than 550 incidents of mass murder since 2006, according to the database, in which at least 2,900 people have been killed and at least 2,000 people have been injured.
Police are still investigating the shooting.
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