Three children were shot in Philadelphia Thursday night as the city continues to struggle to get a handle on rising violence.
The children, boys aged 11 and 15 and a girl aged 12, were wounded in separate shootings and transported to local hospitals, police said. The 15-year-old was in critical condition.
The teen was shot multiple times throughout the abdomen and legs when gunfire rang out on the 2000 block of N. 20th Street in North Philadelphia around 7:36 p.m., Philadelphia Police Department spokeswoman Officer Tanya Little said. Officers found the boy on the street and rushed him to Temple University Hospital.
The 12-year-old was also shot in North Philadelphia when someone opened fire on the 1500 block of W. Lehigh Avenue around 7:45 p.m. The triple shooting killed an 18-year-old man who was struck multiple times in the chest, Little said.
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The girl was shot one in the chest and once in the right arm and rushed to Temple University Hospital, where she was listed in stable condition, Officer Miguel Torres, another PPD spokesman, said. A 31-year-old man sustained a graze wound to the arm.
Shortly before 9 p.m., the 11-year-old was shot once in the rib cage, left bicep and right knee when someone opened fire on the 5700 block of Elmwood Street in Southwest Philadelphia, Little said. The child was taken to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and listed in stable condition. A 46-year-old man was struck twice in the calf in the same shooting, Little said.
No arrests were made in any of the shootings.
Data from the Philadelphia Office of the Controller shows that at least 162 minors have been shot in the city this year. At least 29 of them died.
Numerous shootings have happened at parks and recreation centers. Speaking with NBC10, Mayor Jim Kenney said security cameras are installed at those locations, but a lack of police personnel means the cameras are not always monitored because officers are out on the street responding to calls or conducting investigations.
Philadelphia Police Department crime statistics show that 412 people had been killed in the city as of Thursday night. That represents an 18% increase in the number of killings from the same time last year. That year ended with 499 slayings, nearly tying a high of 500 homicides in 1990.
Kenney said infrastructure investments in places providing recreation for children will help reduce violence in the long run. However, he laid the blame for current violence on the availability of guns, as well as state laws preventing Philadelphia from enacting its own more stringent firearm restrictions.
This week, Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector James Kelly revealed that officers have recovered 4,475 “crime guns” in 2021. By year's end, the department expects to have recovered more than 6,000 such guns, he said.
In 2020, there were also 2,324 arrests for firearms violations, which the chief inspector, said represented "a record-breaking year" for such arrests. This year, there have already been 1,973 arrests for firearms violations, he said.
“The bottom line with the gun violence are the guns, and I know in many ways we’re beyond that conversation because the Legislature will never do anything about gun control and probably the federal government won’t do it either,” Kenney said. “But there are certain things that we could do as a city that the Legislature keeps us from doing, and that involves straw purchasing, it involves the number of guns people can buy in a particular month.”
The city is currently engaged in a lawsuit that seeks to allow municipalities to enforce their own local gun control measures.
There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.