On Tuesday, around 5:30 a.m., police responded to a report of a person with a gun along the 4200 block of L Street. When they arrived they found 76-year-old Loi Nguyen suffering a gunshot wound to the head. Nguyen was pronounced dead at the scene at 5:44 a.m.
Investigators said Nguyen was out on his routine morning stroll in his neighborhood at the time of the shooting. Philadelphia Police later released surveillance video of a suspect. The video shows a man in a red hooded sweatshirt following Nguyen. He then flees the scene moments after the shooting.
“Loi was walking down the back driveway, seemingly minding his business with his hands in his pocket,” Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Frank Venore said. “An individual wearing a red hooded sweatshirt runs directly by him.”
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During an afternoon press conference, Mayor Jim Kenney referenced the shooting as another example of the need for gun reform.
“Someone as inhuman as that should not have access to a gun. Ever,” Kenney said. “What type of person would do that to another human being?"
Nguyen is survived by a wife, daughter and granddaughter.
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“There are shootings every day, and to them our family case is normal,” the family told NBC10. “Shootings like this and random shootings, police don’t try hard enough.”
Nguyen was Vietnamese and there has been an uptick in hate crimes against Asian Americans over the last few years. Investigators have not confirmed whether or not the shooting was racially motivated however and say it’s too early to speculate in regards to a motive.
Police also said they are investigating an earlier incident in the same area involving a man with a similar description as the suspect in Nguyen’s death. During that incident a man had a gun during an argument though he never fired it and no one was hurt.
A gun violence tracker from the city controller’s office tallied 865 nonfatal and 223 fatal shooting victims as of Tuesday, June 21. Shootings have accounted for the most killings in Philadelphia this year. As of Tuesday night, there were 245 homicides in the city in 2022, down only 6 percent from the same time last year which was ultimately the deadliest year in Philadelphia on record.
Amid surging violence and a shortage in officers, the PPD earlier this month announced a partnership with the Pennsylvania State Police aimed at increasing the presence of law enforcement in areas of the city hit hardest by crime.
The public safety program, named “Operation Trigger Lock,” puts state troopers with Philadelphia police highway patrol officers in select locations throughout the city.
“During this joint initiative, it will not be uncommon to see both PPD and PSP vehicles with one PPD officer and one PSP trooper per vehicle,” a PPD spokesperson wrote.
Both departments will share intelligence and resources while patrolling the “most-challenged communities” in Philadelphia, with a focus on violent crime.
There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.