Five dead in Philadelphia-area shooting spree
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A 40-year-old man with a rifle, a pistol, extra magazines, a police scanner and a bulletproof vest fatally shot four men in a Philadelphia neighborhood and chased and killed a fifth man inside a house, police said.
A 2-year-old boy and a 13-year-old were also wounded in the Monday night violence that made the working-class area of Kingsessing the site of the nation’s worst violence around the July 4 holiday.
The gunman fired at police as they chased him for blocks, police said. When they caught up, he surrendered in an alley, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said at a news conference. The shooter had no connection to the victims before the shooting, she said.
“Thank God our officers were on the scene and responded as quickly as they did. I can’t even describe the level of bravery and courage 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, leaving three people dead and eight hurt.
At a holiday weekend block party in Baltimore, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) to the southwest of Philadelphia, two people were killed and 28 others were wounded in a shooting. More than half of the victims were minors, officials said.
In Philadelphia, officers were flagged down at about 8:30 p.m. Monday. Multiple calls reporting shots fired also came from Kingsessing. Police found some victims and heard more shots as they were helping them, Outlaw said. Police told Fox 29 that a fifth victim had been chased into his home and shot to death. Bullet casings were found outside the home.
A second person was also taken into custody and may have returned fire at the suspect. Police did not know whether there was a connection between the two, Outlaw said.
She said that officers found dozens of shell casings strewn across eight blocks.
“You can see there are several scenes out here,” Outlaw said. “We’re canvassing the area to get as much as we can, to identify witnesses, to identify where cameras are located and to do everything to figure out the why,” Outlaw said.
Police on Tuesday afternoon identified the victims as 20-year-old Lashyd Merritt, 29–year-old Dymir Stanton, 59-year-old Ralph Moralis and 15-year-old Daujan Brown, all pronounced dead shortly after the Monday night gunfire; and 31-year-old Joseph Wamah, Jr., who was found in a home early Tuesday, also with multiple bullet wounds.
A 2-year-old boy shot four times in the legs and a 13-year-old shot twice in the legs were in stable condition, as were a 2-year-old boy and a 33-year-old woman injured by shattered glass.
Tim Eads said that Monday night he heard fireworks, then gunshots, and saw police cars “flying by.” His wife was on the second floor “looking out the bay window and saw the shooter actually coming down this street here behind me.” Eads saw the other man with a pistol who, Eads said, may have been firing at the shooter.
“He was using my car as a shield shooting out into the street,” Eads said.
A resident named Roger who declined to give his last name said he and his family were eating in the living room at about 8:30 p.m. when they heard eight to 10 gunshots.
“Everybody thought it was fireworks but … been around here about three years so I heard it enough,” he said. “I looked out the window and seen a bunch of people running.”
He said he heard about four more shots and “thought it was the end of it.” Ten minutes later, he said, police came “flying down here,” and about five minutes later he heard rapid gunfire open up right outside the house.
The Philadelphia violence is the country’s 29th mass killing in 2023, according to a database maintained by The Associated Press and USA Today in partnership with Northeastern University, the highest on record by this time in the year.
The numbers people killed in such events is also the highest by this time in the year.
There have been more than 550 mass killings since 2006, according to the database, in which at least 2,900 people have died and at least 2,000 people have been hurt.