EDITOR'S NOTE (1 p.m., June 6, 2022): New details and developments in the mass shooting on South Street that left three dead and 11 others wounded can be found in this story.
At least 14 people were shot, three of them killed, when gunmen fired into a crowd on a popular stretch of South Street in Philadelphia late Saturday night.
Philadelphia Police Department Commissioner Danielle Outlaw identified the victims as 34-year-old Gregory Jackson, 27-year-old Alexis Quinn and a 22-year-old man.
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Police did not release the 22-year-old man's identity, but the American Federation of Teachers identified him as Kris Minners, a resident advisor for 6th and 2nd grade boys at Girard College.
Minners had been celebrating his birthday with family and friends on South Street prior to the shooting, according to Girard College's Interim President James Turner.
"Our hearts are broken for Kristopher and his family, and our thoughts are with everyone who was impacted by this appalling act of violence," Turner wrote in a statement. "I visited with Kris’ parents this morning and the College will continue to offer them every support."
Tracy Medley, an employee at Millennium Skate World in Camden, told NBC10 Gregory Jackson was a longtime customer.
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"He would be very happy when he would walk in the door," Medley said. "Just light up and be so excited to be here and then just walk around, shake hands, hugs with everybody. He had a lot of friends here. A lot of his family would come here and skate as well."
The 11 shooting victims who survived were a 17-year-old boy; two 18-year-old men; two 20-year-old men; three men aged 23, 43 and 69; two 17-year-old girls; and a 19-year-old woman. Their medical conditions ranged from stable to critical, Outlaw said.
A 49-year-old old woman also suffered injuries after being struck by shattered glass, police said.
"Once again, we see lives senselessly lost and those injured in yet another horrendous, brazen and despicable act of gun violence," Mayor Jim Kenney said in a written statement Sunday morning. "My heart is with the family, friends, loved ones of those lost or injured, and with everyone impacted by this terrible tragedy."
The gunfire erupted on South Street between 2nd and 3rd streets shortly before midnight. Hundreds of people were out enjoying the night when officers said they heard multiple gunshots, then saw several gunmen firing into a crowd.
An officer fired his gun at one of the shooters, PPD Inspector D. F. Pace said. It is not known if the suspect was struck; however, they did drop their gun and flee.
The officer was "within 10 to 15 yards of the shooter, watching this person shoot into the crowd" when he decided to engage, Pace said.
Investigators believe one of the men who died had gotten into a fight with another man, which was "potentially the genesis of the shooting," Outlaw said. Both men then began firing at one another, she said. The rest of the victims appeared to be "innocent bystanders," the commissioner said.
“It’s important that we bring justice to the victims, their families and our community," she said.
Police said they were looking at cell phone video uploaded to YouTube Sunday morning that seems to show the chaotic moments before the shooting occurred.
In the video, two people approach a third person by the Rita’s Italian Ice shop on South Street. As the pair is walking, one of them, who appears to be a man in a white shirt, pulls out what seems to be a handgun from his waistband. The pair begin grabbing at the third person and a tussle quickly follows.
The individual taking the video then takes cover as multiple gunshots ring out. However, it's unclear if the gun seen in the video was ever fired or connected to the gunshots.
Law enforcement sources confirmed with NBC10 that the man in a white shirt who was involved in the fight in the video was one of the people killed in the shooting.
South Street is a popular area in Philadelphia lined with restaurants, shops and bars. It is highly trafficked among both locals and tourists. Outlaw said extra officers had been deployed to the area in anticipation of larger-than-average crowds in part due to the warm weather and "several events going on in the city at one time."
"There were hundreds of individuals just enjoying South Street, as they do every weekend, when this shooting broke out," Pace, the police inspector, said.
One of the survivors was 69-year-old Rusty Crowell. The South Philly resident told NBC10 he was at the bar Dobbs on South to see a friend perform when he stepped outside shortly before midnight and heard the gunshots.
"I thought everybody's having a good time. It's fireworks," Crowell said. "But then I looked down at my leg and there was blood just gushing down the back of my leg."
Crowell told NBC10 he was lucky to be alive and grateful for the support he's received from his community.
Well we are the city of Brotherly Love and that's what I see," Crowell said. "And it gets you. They're good people, Philadelphia."
Pace said two guns were found at the scene, one of them with an extended magazine.
One of the shooters was last seen running south on American Street between 2nd and 3rd streets. Several businesses on South Street captured the shooting on surveillance video, and police were attempting to gather the images to aid their investigation.
"I want to emphasize that South Street is manned by numerous police officers," Pace said. "This is standard deployment for Friday and Saturday night - weekends - and especially during the summer months."
Philadelphia police said a separate shooting incident happened nearby around 11 p.m. Officers found 13 bullet casings at 4th and Bainbridge streets, a couple blocks away. No one there was struck, said Frank Vanore, the chief inspector for the PPD's detective bureau.
Police did not immediately know if that shooting or several others in the area were related to the shooting on South Street, he said.
"Furious. I am furious, not just for my neighborhood, for the whole country. If I hear one more time ‘thoughts and prayers’ – bull---," neighbor Maureen Long said through tears. "We cannot disagree about this. We have to do something. I don't care what your political leanings are. We can't continue to let people kill people."
Due to "the recent violence in the area and ongoing saety concerns," Kenney ordered Sunday evening that there be no pedestrian or vehicular traffic —with the exception of area residents, property owners and employees, licensed medical personnel, media members and law enforcement — between Front and 6th streets from Bainbridge to Lombard streets. The ban was to be in effect from 8 p.m. Sunday until 6 a.m. Monday.
Last Tuesday, video captured the moments a woman and other gunmen opened fire on the 400 block of South Street – less than two blocks away from Saturday night's shooting. One man was injured.
The Saturday shooting in Philadelphia is just the latest in a spate of mass shootings across the country.
In Buffalo, New York, a gunman killed 10 Black people and wounded three others at a supermarket in what authorities said was a racially motivated attack. In Uvalde, Texas, another gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School. In Oklahoma, a man killed four people and wounded several others inside a Tulsa medical building. In Tennessee, a shooting near a nightclub left three dead and 14 wounded.
Data from the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive show that gun violence deaths have been ticking upward since 2018, when the group tallied 14,916 deaths.
In 2019, the GVA tallied 15,491gun violence deaths attributed to murders, homicides, defensive use and accidental shootings. In 2020, those types of incidents accounted for 19,515 deaths. They accounted for 20,923 in 2021 and thus far have accounted for 8,288 this year, according to the group.
The GVA began adding suicides to its count in 2019. When accounting for suicides, gun violence deaths in 2019 totaled 39,581; 43,671 in 2020; 45,013 in 2021 and 10,296 thus far this year.
In Philadelphia, the toll of gun violence is not reserved to isolated mass shootings, however.
A gun violence tracker from the city controller’s office tallied 743 nonfatal and 188 fatal shooting victims as of June 2. Several shootings have occurred in the days since, with the number of fatal and nonfatal victims both sure to rise.
Shootings have accounted for the most killings in Philadelphia this year. The slight bit of positive news amid the carnage, though, is that killings as of Saturday night were at 211, down from the 225 seen at the same time in 2021, which finished as the year with the most murders since the city first began keeping record.
The recent high-profile shootings, though, have renewed calls for stricter gun control amid rising gun violence across the country.
President Joe Biden on Thursday acknowledged there is little left for him to do through executive action and called on Congress to pass legislation to tighten gun laws. While the Uvalde shooting renewed bipartisan talks about modest gun reforms, such talks have broken down in the past.
Meanwhile, legislators in Philadelphia are barred by Pennsylvania’s preemption law from enacting gun control statutes that are stricter than state laws.
"We cannot accept continued violence as a way of life in our country. Until we address the availability and ease of access to firearms, we will always be fighting an uphill battle," Kenney said in his statement. "As Mayor, I will continue to fight to protect our communities and urge others to advocate for stronger laws that keep guns out of the hands of violent individuals."
There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.