Shooting in Philadelphia leaves five dead; there is a suspect in custody

Five people were killed and two children wounded Monday night in an apparently random shooting in which a man wearing a bulletproof vest opened fire on the streets of Philadelphia, police say, in a new case of gun violence in the United States.

The shootings occurred over several blocks in Kingsessing, a neighborhood in the southwest of the city. Deputies who showed up pursued the suspect, who continued to fire and was detained in an alley after surrendering, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said at a news conference.

At first there was no known relationship between the victims and the aggressor.

“At this point, all we know is that this person was determined to get out of the house and attack individuals,” Outlaw said.

He had an armored vest, several chargers, an “AR-type rifle,” a pistol, and a police scanner, the official said.

Officers were called to a halt around 8:30 p.m. and several reports of gunshots were received in Kingsessing. Police found some of the victims, and as they were treating them they heard more gunshots, Outlaw said. Police later told Fox 29 that a fifth victim had been found, a male who had been followed to his home and shot to death. Shell casings were found outside the house.

The suspect was identified as a 40-year-old man. Another person was in custody and may have returned fire at the suspect, although police did not know if there was a relationship between the two people, Outlaw said.

Outlaw said the scene spanned two by four blocks and noted that dozens of bullet casings were found at the scene.

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“You can see there were multiple scenes,” Outlaw said. “We are investigating the area to get everything we can, identify witnesses, identify where the cameras are located and do everything we can to understand why,” Outlaw said.

Three of the deceased were between the ages of 20 and 59, while the fourth, who had not yet been identified, was between the ages of 16 and 21. The victim found in his house was 31 years old. They were all male.

The two hospitalized victims are children aged 2 and 13. They are in stable condition, Outlaw said.

The shooting occurred a day after a shooting at a block party in Baltimore, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) to the southwest, killed two people and wounded 28. Those injured in that incident are between the ages of 13 and 32 and more than half of them are minors, according to authorities.

Acts of violence in Philadelphia bring the number of massacres to 29 in 2023, according to a database maintained by The Associated Press and USA Today in partnership with Northeastern University. It was the highest figure ever recorded for this time of year.

The number of deaths in these events was also the highest to date.

There have been more than 550 incidents of mass murder in the United States since 2006, according to the database, in which at least 2,900 people have been killed and at least 2,000 injured.

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