PHILADELPHIA – Nine people were wounded, five critically, Saturday night when shooters emerged from a car and fired into a crowd on a busy street in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood, police said.
At least 40 shots were fired during the incident, which happened at 10:42 p.m. near Kensington and Allegheny avenues, said First Deputy Police Commissioner John Stanford.
He said “three or four people” jumped out of the car, and then shots were fired into a group of people standing on the south side of Allegheny, near the entrance to the Market-Frankford Line. He did not specify how many people were involved in the actual shooting before the group got back into the car and drove away.
Police had not yet established a motive and hadn’t recovered any weapons, Stanford said. Police didn’t provide the make of the vehicle.
Officers took the victims to area hospitals, he said. Five were reported in critical condition, police said, the other four were in stable condition. The victims – eight men and one woman – ranged in age from 23 to 40, police said.
The shooting marked a continuation of the city’s gun violence crisis: Already this year, police statistics show, more than 2,000 people have been killed or wounded by bullets, the highest year-to-date tally since at least 2015.
It also was another incident that resulted in multiple victims. Last week six people were shot outside a Spring Garden night club. Earlier this year, 14 people were shot – three fatally – on South Street, the highest number of victims in a single incident in the city in years.
Saturday’s incident occurred in an area notorious for drug use and gun violence: A Philadelphia Inquirer study last year found that almost 300 people had been shot within a five-minute walk of the intersection since 2015, a rate per square mile more than 11 times greater than that of the city as a whole.
State Rep. Amen Brown, a West Philadelphia Democrat, was at the scene Saturday and blamed city leaders – including Mayor Jim Kenney, city councilmembers, and District Attorney Larry Krasner – for the ongoing shootings crisis.
“It’s not going to stop until everybody just finally decides to work together, and we stand with law enforcement to really solve this frickin’ problem,” he said.
Stanford said police have been maintaining a presence around Kensington and Allegheny and that officers were patrolling nearby when they heard the shots being fired and responded to the scene. In the aftermath, more than two dozen officers stood at the intersection, which was marked off by police tape for several hours as cruisers sat parked nearby.
At a news briefing on the street, Stanford urged people who might know anything about the incident to share information with police.
Stanford said more people than usual were outside Saturday, given the unusual November weather.
“It’s a warm evening,” he said, “but you should be able to walk the streets and not have to worry.”
Around midnight, most businesses in the area had closed for the night. And though people were still milling around the intersection, few offered specifics about what might’ve happened.
(Philadelphia Inquirer staff writer Anthony R. Wood contributed to this report.)
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