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Philadelphia surpassed 550 killings in 2021 when two men were shot dead Tuesday morning outside a strip club in a blaze of gunfire that police said included at least 17 shots fired.
The men were in the parking lot of Club Risqué in the Wissinoming neighborhood when someone opened fire with a semiautomatic gun just before 2:30 a.m., police said. A 32-year-old victim was struck in the head and leg, while the second victim, a man in his 40s or 40s, was shot in the chest, according to police.
Both men were rushed to a local hospital but did not survive.
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The shooting happened after the 32-year-old and three other men began arguing with a man who was passing by them, Officer Miguel Torres, a Philadelphia Police Department spokesman, said.
The group then assaulted the man, who had a friend nearby, Torres said. The friend pulled the trigger before fleeing in a dark Nissan, Torres added.
The gunman was described as wearing a shiny, blue, puffy jacket and a black face mask.
Police believe the gunman may have also been inside the club at some point, and they were looking through surveillance video to pinpoint the suspect.
The two slayings took Philadelphia’s homicides to at least 551 this year as the city experiences its highest number of killings in recorded history, according to crime statistics from the Philadelphia Police Department,
Gunfire has been responsible for at least 474 of the killings, according to a tally by the city controller’s office. Meanwhile, more than 1,800 people have been victims of nondeadly gunfire, according to the tally, which was last updated Dec. 23.
Despite pressure from advocates and lawmakers, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has declined to issue an emergency declaration on gun violence, arguing that such a declaration would have no impact in strengthening his administration’s current anti-violence initiatives.
There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.