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Philly shootings surge as 23 people were shot in a single day

Chris Palmer, Dylan Purcell, John Duchneskie and Julie Shaw, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in News & Features

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia's gun violence epidemic reached alarming heights Sunday, as 23 people were shot across the city -- the most in a single day since at least 2013 -- and six of the victims died, including a 6-year-old boy shot inside an Upper Holmesburg rowhouse.

The violent surge capped a July Fourth holiday weekend in which 35 people were shot between Friday morning and Sunday night, according to police. The victims included an 11-year-old girl grazed by a bullet in Elmwood, a 52-year-old man shot in the foot while riding a bike in North Philadelphia and a 15-year-old boy who died after being shot in the head during a triple shooting in Overbrook.

Police said most of the cases had not yet resulted in arrests. On the block where the 6-year-old was killed, neighbors said they were shocked to learn that a child died inside with other kids nearby.

So far this year, at least 888 people have been shot in the city, according to a Philadelphia Inquirer analysis of city and police data -- an average of 4.7 people per day. The number of shooting victims has been steadily increasing since 2014, when 1,047 people were shot.

If this year's pace holds, the city will reach that number by early August -- and will finish the year with more than 1,700 victims, the highest total since at least 2007.

Homicides, which also have been steadily rising in recent years, have continued to surge in 2020. According to police statistics, 210 people have been killed in the city this year, 27% above last year's total, and putting the city on pace for its highest annual murder tally since 1997.


Mayor Jim Kenney on Monday lamented the violence, saying police resources have been stretched thin by the ongoing protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and adding that violent situations can sometimes result from people being stuck in their homes for a long time because of the coronavirus pandemic.

City Council President Darrell Clarke said the city was facing a "perfect storm" of problems, including widespread poverty, the coronavirus, the ongoing unrest, and easy access to guns -- issues he said council was working to try to improve.

"At the end of the day, we've got to get through this," Clarke said. "We got to figure out a way."

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw was not available for an interview, the department said.


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