Three people were killed after “several active shooters” opened fire into a crowd in downtown Philadelphia shortly before midnight Saturday, local police said, followed hours later by a shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, that also reportedly led to three deaths—the latest in a series of mass shootings that have rekindled debate over gun laws.
Philadelphia police conducting normal patrols of South Street—a busy nightlife area in the Center City district—spotted multiple shooters firing at a crowd of people late Saturday, Philadelphia Police Department inspector D.F. Pace told reporters on Sunday.
Two men and one woman were pronounced dead at a hospital after suffering multiple gunshot wounds, and another 11 people were injured, Pace said.
Meanwhile at 2:42 a.m., 14 people were shot near a nightclub in Chattanooga and three other people were hit by vehicles as they fled the area, Chattanooga Police Chief Celeste Murphy said at a press conference, the Associated Press reported.
Of the 17 people who were wounded in Chattanooga, two died from gunshot injuries and one died after being hit by a vehicle, and several surviving victims are still in critical condition, Murphy said, according to the AP.
What We Don’t Know
Philadelphia police “don’t have a lot of information” about the suspects in that city’s shooting, but hope to gather substantial video footage from cameras at area businesses, Pace said. An officer fired at a shooter from 10 or 15 yards, causing the shooter to drop his gun and flee the scene, though it remains unclear whether the shooter was hit. At least two semiautomatic handguns—including one with an extended magazine—were found at the scene, along with “numerous” shell casings, according to Pace.
The Philadelphia and Chattanooga shootings follow a series of highly publicized shootings last month in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Buffalo, New York; and Uvalde, Texas, where 19 elementary school students and two teachers were killed by a single gunman May 24. Mass shootings and active-shooter incidents have become more frequent in the United States over the last two years, and the number of active shooter incidents that qualify as “mass killings” with three or more deaths increased from five in 2020 to 12 last year, the FBI reported.
315. That’s the number of gun violence incidents that have occurred in the U.S. in the last 72 hours, according to research nonprofit Gun Violence Archive.
Key Democrats including Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (Ill.) have said the Uvalde shooting could mark a turning point in the national gun control debate, possibly allowing a bipartisan compromise to modestly boost gun restrictions. On Thursday, President Joe Biden urged Congress to revive the 1994-2004 federal assault weapons ban and implement a federal red flag law, which would allow courts to temporarily take guns from people believed to be a danger to themselves or others. However, some Republican officials like Texas Gov. Greg Abbott argue the solution to mass shootings is to increase security at facilities like schools and to improve mental health resources.