PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A 40-year-old man with a rifle, handgun, extra magazines, police scanner and body armor shot and killed four men in a Philadelphia neighborhood and then chased and killed a fifth man inside a home, police said. .
A 2-year-old boy and a 13-year-old were also injured in Monday night’s violence that made the working-class neighborhood of Kingsessing the site of the country’s worst 4th of July violence.
The gunman fired at police as they chased him for blocks, police said. When they caught up with him, he surrendered in an alley, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said at a news conference. The gunman had no connection to the victims before the shooting, she said.
“Thank God our agents were on the scene and responded as quickly as they did. I can’t even describe the level of bravery and bravery that was shown, in addition to the restraint that was shown here,” Outlaw said.
About four hours after the Philadelphia shooting, gunfire rang out at a neighborhood festival in Fort Worth, Texas, killing three and injuring eight.
During a weekend of celebrations in Baltimore, about 90 miles southwest of Philadelphia, two people were killed and 28 others injured in a shooting. More than half of the victims were minors, officials said.
In Philadelphia, officers were shot at around 8:30 p.m. Monday. Multiple calls about shots fired also came from Kingsessing. Police found some victims and heard more shots as they helped them, Outlaw said. Police told Fox 29 that a fifth victim was chased into his home and shot dead. Bullet casings were found outside the house.
A second person has also been arrested and may have shot at the suspect. Police didn’t know if there was a connection between the two, Outlaw said.
She said officers found dozens of shell casings scattered across eight blocks.
“You can see there are different scenes here”, Outlaw said. “We are scouring the area to collect as much as possible, to identify witnesses, to determine where cameras are located and to do everything we can to find out why,” Outlaw said.
Police on Tuesday afternoon identified the victims as Lashyd Merritt, 20, Dymir Stanton, 29, Ralph Moralis, 59, and Daujan Brown, 15, all pronounced dead shortly after the gunfire Monday night; and 31-year-old Joseph Wamah, Jr., who was found in a home early Tuesday, also with multiple gunshot wounds.
A 2-year-old boy who was shot four times in the leg and a 13-year-old who was shot twice in the leg were in stable condition, as were a 2-year-old boy and a 33-year-old woman who were injured by shattered glass.
Tim Eads said he heard fireworks on Monday night, then saw gunshots and police cars “fly past.” His wife was on the second floor “I looked out the bay window and saw the shooter coming up this street behind me.” Eads saw the other man with a gun who, Eads said, possibly fired at the gunman.
“He used my car as a shield that shot into the street,” said Eads.
A resident named Roger, who declined to give his last name, said he and his family were eating in the living room around 8:30 p.m. when they heard eight to 10 gunshots.
“Everyone thought it was fireworks, but… I’ve been here three years so I’ve heard enough,” he said. “I looked out the window and saw a group of people running.”
He said he heard about four shots and “I thought it was the end.” Ten minutes later, he said, the police arrived “fly here”, and about five minutes later he heard rapid gunfire directly outside the house.
The violence in Philadelphia is the 29th mass murder in the country in 2023, according to a database maintained by The Associated Press and USA Today in conjunction with Northeastern University, the highest on record by this time of year.
The number of people killed in such events is also the highest at this time of year.
Since 2006, according to the database, there have been more than 550 mass murders, in which at least 2,900 people have been killed and at least 2,000 injured.