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Philadelphia shooting leaves 5 dead, suspect in custody

Jul 4, 2023, 8:27 AM

Police are pictured here on the scene of a shooting in Philadelphia on July 3.
Mandatory Credit:	Dr...

Police are pictured here on the scene of a shooting in Philadelphia on July 3. Mandatory Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

(CNN) — Police in Philadelphia are investigating a sprawling shooting they believe left five people dead and two children injured Monday evening, before authorities arrested a suspect who they say had a bulletproof vest, an AR-15 style rifle and a handgun.

Authorities initially said four people were killed, but early Tuesday announced the discovery of a fifth body in the same Kingsessing neighborhood in southwestern Philadelphia, and said they preliminarily believe that person was killed in the same spree.

The shooting spanned several blocks, damaging vehicles and littering the streets with dozens of spent shell casings, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle M. Outlaw said in a Monday night news conference.

Authorities have yet to name the suspect; Outlaw said she believed he is 40 years old.

When officers arrested the suspect after a foot pursuit, he was wearing a bulletproof vest stocked with several ammunition magazines and was carrying the two guns and a scanner, according to the commissioner.

Authorities have “absolutely no idea” why the shooting happened and have yet to find any connection between the victims and suspect, Outlaw said.

“We’re canvassing the area to get as much as we can – to identify witnesses, to identify where cameras are located, and do everything we can to figure out the ‘why’ behind this happening,” she said.

Gunfire in Philadelphia erupted Monday evening as the United States endures a seemingly neverending epidemic of gun violence: There were at least six mass shootings in the first three days of July, according to the Gun Violence Archive, including another Monday night in Fort Worth, Texas, that left at least three people dead and eight wounded. Another shooting in Baltimore on Saturday left two people dead and 28 others injured.

They were among at least 341 mass shootings in the US this year, per the archive, which, like CNN, defines a mass shooting as one in which four or more people are shot, not including the shooter.

“This devastating violence must stop,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said in a tweet Monday evening.

“My heart is with the loved ones and families of everyone involved, and I send my prayers to the victims,” Kenney said.

Of the four slain victims that police initially knew about, three were men ages 20, 22 and 59. The fourth was also a man but investigators didn’t know his age, Outlaw said.

The fifth victim was a 31-year-old man, city police Chief Inspector Scott Small said. He was discovered early Tuesday hours after the other victims were found in a home in Kingsessing, a neighborhood that sits on the west bank of the Schuylkill River in southwest Philadelphia.

Outlaw described the conditions of the injured children – ages 2 and 13 – as stable.

A second person also was in custody Monday night – someone who authorities believe may have returned fire, Outlaw said.

How the shooting unfolded

Police officers were flagged down in the area where the shooting began around 8:30 p.m. Monday, Outlaw said, and discovered multiple gunshot victims.

“As they were scooping up victims and preparing them for transport to the hospital, they also heard multiple gunshots up the street,” Outlaw said.

Again, as officers were responding to the second shooting scene, more gunshots could be heard on a nearby street, she said.

Officers found the suspect and pursued him on foot as he continued shooting, Outlaw said. The suspect was finally cornered in an alley and apprehended, she said.

“Thank God our officers were here on scene (and) they responded as quickly as they did,” Outlaw said Monday. “I can’t even describe the level of bravery and courage that was shown.”

The body of the slain 31-year-old man was found around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday by his father in the living room of a Kingsessing home, according to Small, the chief inspector.

The father reported this to an officer who was in the area investigating the shooting from hours earlier. The man had been shot several times, and responding medics declared him dead shortly after, Small said.

Investigators found seven rifle rounds inside the home, Small said. Because of the home’s location and ballistic evidence, investigators believe that person’s death is related to the others, Small said.

“We believe now this is the seventh (person shot) and it’ll be the fifth person that was shot and killed,” Small said.

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Philadelphia shooting leaves 5 dead, suspect in custody