The country is marked by an outbreak of violence by firearms, in particular the killing in a school in Uvalde, Texas on May 24 (21 dead including 19 children and two teachers). Since then, more than twenty shootings with several victims have taken place, according to the association Gun Violence Archive.
In Philadelphia, “fourteen people, to our knowledge, have been shot and hospitalized,” Detective Inspector D.F. Pace told reporters. “Three of these people, two men and one woman, were pronounced dead after arriving at hospitals with multiple gunshot wounds.”
Inspector Pace told local media that police officers on the scene “observed several active shooters opening fire on the crowd” in the busy South Street area of Philadelphia.
“You can imagine there were hundreds of people taking advantage of South Street, like every weekend when this shooting broke out,” the inspector said.
According to him, the police opened fire on one of the shooters who dropped his weapon and fled, but it is not known if he was hit.
Local media reported that no arrests had been made.
According to Inspector Pace, two semi-automatic weapons were found at the scene, one with a high-capacity magazine. The police will examine the images of the surveillance cameras of the surrounding businesses, closed on Saturday evening, he explained.
A witness to the shooting, Joe Smith, 23, explained to the newspaper The Philadelphia Inquirer to have been assailed by reminiscences of recent shootings in the United States from the first shots heard.
– “Hoarse cries” –
“As soon as it started, I didn’t think it was going to stop,” he said. “There were hoarse screams,” he added, “I just heard screams.”
Another witness, Eric Walsh, described to the Philadelphia Inquirer people fleeing the shooting “with blood spattered on white sneakers and scraped knees, scraped elbows.”
According to the newspaper, another person was shot and killed near the site of the shooting about two hours later, but police said the two incidents had no established connection.
In the United States, where 393 million firearms — more than the population — circulated in 2020, violence tends to increase when the weather is warmer, according to researchers.
In addition, several states have relaxed restrictions in recent years.
US President Joe Biden on Thursday called on Congress to find a way to restrict the sale of assault rifles and castigated elected Republicans who oppose it, lamenting that “too many everyday places (have) become places of slaughter, battlefields”.
“Over the past 20 years, more schoolchildren have died from gunfire than the total number of police and soldiers who have died on duty,” he said. “Think about it”.
A group of Democratic and Republican senators met Thursday to discuss gun control proposals, but Republicans have historically opposed such measures.
Besides the Uvalde shooting, a series of deadly shootings have occurred recently. On May 14, a white man defining himself as “racist” and “anti-Semitic” killed ten black people in a supermarket in Buffalo, on the border between the United States and Canada.
On May 16, a man, motivated by hatred toward Taiwan and its people according to police, killed one person and injured five others at a church in California frequented by the Taiwanese-American community.
Last Thursday, a shooting in a cemetery in Wisconsin, in Racine on the shores of Lake Michigan, left five injured during the burial of a man killed in late May by police.
And the day before, four people had been killed in a shooting at a hospital in Tulsa (Oklahoma, Southeast). The shooter was targeting the doctor who had operated on his back and whom he considered responsible for his pain, according to the police.