A gunman wearing a bulletproof vest opened fire on the streets of Philadelphia Monday night, apparently at random, killing five people and wounding two children in the latest outbreak of gun violence in the United States, police said.
The shootings took place on several city blocks in the southwestern neighborhood of Kingsessing. 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.
No connection was immediately known between the victims and the shooter.
“At this point, all we know is that this person decided to leave their home and attack people,” Outlaw said.
He had a bulletproof vest, an “AR type rifle”, several magazines, a pistol and a police scanner, he said.
Officers were flagged down around 8:30 p.m., and Kingsessing received multiple gunshot calls. Police found some gunshot victims, and as they were tending to them, they heard more gunshots, Outlaw said.
The suspected shooter was identified as a 40-year-old man. A second person who may have shot the suspect was also detained, but police did not know if there was a connection between the two people, Outlaw said.
The chief said dozens of bullet casings were found in an eight-block area.
“You can see there are multiple scenes here,” Outlaw said. “We are scouring the area to get everything we can, identify witnesses, identify where the cameras are located and do everything we can to find out why,” Outlaw said.
Three of the dead were between the ages of 20 and 59, while the fourth, who had not yet been identified, was estimated to be between 16 and 21 years old. They were all men. The two hospitalized victims are children, ages 2 and 13. They were in stable condition, Outlaw said.
The shooting occurred a day after gunshots 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 in age from 13 to 32, with more than half underage, according to authorities.
Philadelphia’s violence is the nation’s 29th mass murder in 2023, according to a database maintained by The Associated Press and USA Today in partnership with Northeastern University, the highest on record for this time of year.
The number of people killed in such events is also the highest at this time of the year.
There have been more than 550 mass killings since 2006, according to the database, in which at least 2,900 people have been killed and at least 2,000 injured.
[Con información de The Associated Press]