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Two gunmen fired more than 65 bullets and wounded six people in Philadelphia's Germantown neighborhood late Thursday night, leaving an “extensive” crime scene in their wake, police said.
The gunfire broke out on the 5100 block of Germantown Avenue around 11:30 p.m., with the shooters unleashing a hailstorm of bullets and sending people scattering while leaving a 21-year-old woman semiconscious on the street, Philadelphia Police Department Chief Inspector Scott Small said.
“The crime scene is very extensive. We found over 65 shell casings. That’s a lot of shots,” Small said.
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Officers responded to multiple 911 calls and found the woman with multiple bullet wounds to the chest and torso. She was going in and out of consciousness when officers rushed her to Temple University Hospital, where she was listed in critical condition, the chief inspector said.
Five men then arrived at local hospitals with wounds sustained in the same shooting, he said.
Two men, 19 and 21, arrived at Albert Einstein Medical center with bullet wounds to the leg, Small said. They were in stable condition.
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A 23-year-old shot twice in the leg and a 20-year-old shot in the arm and grazed in the head also arrived at Temple University Hospital and were stable, with Small calling the 20-year-old “very lucky” to only sustain a graze to his head. Separately, a 29-year-old man showed up to the same hospital after being shot in the foot, Small said.
Additionally, three unoccupied cars parked on nearby Collom Street were riddled with bullet holes, he added.
Because she sustained the most wounds, police think the 21-year-old woman may have been the intended target, but the sheer number of bullets fired made it hard to ascertain a motive, Small said.
The shooting happened on a section of Germantown Avenue lined by numerous restaurants and shops.
Police street cameras did not capture the gunfire, but investigators were hoping to gather surveillance video from nearby businesses that may have captured the incident, Small said.
What police cameras did capture was a white van driving down Germantown Avenue, but it appeared the driver was only picking up the two shooting victims who arrived at Albert Einstein Medical Center, he added.
The gunmen, meanwhile, remained on the loose.
A tally by the Philadelphia Office of the City Controller, last updated Dec. 29, shows at least 1,830 nondeadly victims of gunfire in 2021. Meanwhile, gunfire has been responsible for at least 481 of the 559 killings in Philadelphia this year, according to the city controller's office.
This is now the year with the most killings in Philadelphia's recorded history. The previous homicide record, set in 1990, was 500, according to the PPD.
In 2019, prior to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Philadelphia recorded 356 homicides and 1,187 nonfatal shooting victims, according to the controllers' office.
More than 200 children and teens have been caught in the crossfire amid the rising violence. The controller's offices' tally shows 36 minors killed by gunfire and another 206 wounded in 2021.
"You're fearful of what could happen just going to the corner store. Your kids could be playing in the yard and they could just get shot out of nowhere," community activist Kelly Cales Martinez told NBC10 on Thursday.
Mayor Jim Kenney twice this year declined to issue an emergency declaration on gun violence, something pushed by both activists and fellow lawmakers as a way to clear red tape and expedite resources to combat the problem.
Earlier this month, the mayor told NBC10 via email that an emergency declaration on gun violence would have “no discernible impact on strengthening what is already a highly collaborative and innovative approach to addressing this public health crisis.”
Martinez, the community activist, said she hopes city leaders have a better plan to stem the violence next year.
"There has to be some way, somehow, that we can stop at least some of this," she said.
There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.