Mass shootings in Philadelphia and Chattanooga, Tennessee, left at least six people dead and over 25 others wounded, police said on Sunday in the latest cases of gun violence after recent massacres in Texas, New York and Oklahoma.
Multiple shooters opened fire in Philadelphia’s busy South Street, an area with many bars and restaurants, around midnight on Saturday. Two men and a woman were killed, officials said.
A surveillance video from the Philadelphia shooting showed people on a crowded street running in panic in the closing moments of the 22-second clip, presumably after gun shots were fired. The clip had no audio. Reuters was able to verify the video using geolocation.
“There were hundreds of individuals just enjoying South Street, as they do every single weekend when this shooting broke out,” Philadelphia Police Inspector D F Pace said.
In a separate incident, three people were dead and 14 suffered gunshot wounds after a shooting near a bar in Chattanooga, authorities said, adding that two people died from gunshot wounds and one person died from injuries after being struck by a vehicle while fleeing the scene.
Three victims were wounded as they attempted to flee and were struck by vehicles, Tennessee officials said, adding several among the injured remained in critical condition.
The incidents followed recent shootings that killed 10 people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York; 21 victims at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas; and four people at a medical building in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Gun safety advocates are pushing the U.S. government to take stronger measures to curb gun violence.
There have been at least 240 mass shootings in the United States so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit research group. It defines a mass shooting as one in which at least four people are shot, excluding the shooter.
Philadelphia police officers observed “several active shooters shooting into the crowd,” with one officer “within about 10 to 15 yards” of an individual firing into the crowd, police said. That officer fired at the suspect, they said.
The whereabouts of the Philadelphia shooters were not immediately known, the police said. Two handguns were recovered at the scene, including one with an extended magazine, authorities added. There were no immediate arrests.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney described the shooting as “horrendous, despicable and senseless.” The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the deceased were aged 22, 27 and 34 while the ages of the people wounded ranged from 17 to 69.
There were multiple shooters in Chattanooga too but Chattanooga Police Chief Celeste Murphy said police believe it was an isolated incident and authorities did not think there was an ongoing public safety threat. Further details on that shooting were not immediately available.
U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday called on Congress to ban assault weapons, expand background checks and implement other gun control measures to address the string of mass shootings.
Chris Murphy, the lead Democratic U.S. senator working on bipartisan gun safety talks, said on Sunday he thinks a package including investments in mental health and school safety and some changes to gun laws can pass Congress.
A broad majority of American voters, both Republicans and Democrats, favor stronger gun control laws, but Republicans in Congress and some moderate Democrats have blocked such legislation for years.