2 Philadelphia cops hit by gunfire at fireworks display

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ASPartOfMe
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05 Jul 2022, 9:39 am

What we know about the July Fourth shooting that disrupted Philly’s fireworks

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Philadelphia’s Independence Day finale was cut short when a shooting broke out at the Welcome America event on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, wounding two police officers and scattering crowds.

Thousands were gathered near Eakins Oval at the foot of the Philadelphia Art Museum to watch the fireworks when the shots rang out around 9:45 p.m., right after the musical performances ended and the light show began.

Guns are easy to obtain and shootings are tragically common in Philly. Earlier Monday, what was described as a road rage incident led to a shooting at 2nd and Market streets. The city has recorded at least 1,176 shootings so far this year, up 4% from last year’s record-setting pace.

Police patrols had already been increased for the Monday night concert because of the Illinois attack, according to Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, who briefed media alongside Mayor Jim Kenney shortly after midnight.

“We’re the most armed country in world history and we’re one of the least safest,” Kenney said, per 6ABC. “Until Americans decide that they want to give up the guns and give up the opportunity to get guns, we’re gonna have this problem.”

After the shooting, officers on the scene directed crowds away from the area as people streamed off the Parkway and into different parts of the city. Overview footage posted to social media shows the fireworks continuing in the background as people flee. Reporters and others backstage sheltered in place as police searched the area for a suspect.

Are the wounded officers OK?
Both officers, who were assigned to the event as extra security detail, are recovering and are not in critical condition. “They’re both in great spirits,” Commissioner Outlaw said at a news conference, according to The Inquirer.

One of the officers, a 36-year-old Philly Police Department highway patrol officer, was nearly shot in the head. His cap reportedly stopped the bullet, according to a photo provided by the FOP police union, resulting in just a graze of his head.

The other officer is a 44-year-old Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputy, who was shot in the shoulder. Both were reportedly taken to Jefferson Hospital for treatment.

Where exactly did the shooting happen?
The officers were reportedly standing in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art when they were shot — between the steps and the Ferris wheel set up at Eakins Oval, according to Fox 29.

Who fired and why?
Authorities hadn’t made any arrests or identified any suspects as of Tuesday morning.

What crowd control measures were taken?
People at the scene described some hesitation at first, as people tried to determine whether what they’d heard were the fireworks or gunshots.

Officers then told everyone to clear the area and began evacuating Eakins Oval, according to people who posted videos of the atmosphere on the Parkway shifting from celebratory to fearful. One person told NBC10 that officers in the area told attendees to “run, run, run.”

An hour later, large screens at the event site showed an emergency message reading, “Attention: Public Safety officials are currently investigating a security incident. Please remain where you are.”

What else did Mayor Kenney say?
Philadelphia’s mayor is tired of being mayor, he told reporters at the post-shooting briefing.

Asked about hosting large events in the city with so much gunfire all the time, Kenney said he worries every time there is an event.

“I’m concerned every single day,” Kenney said. “There’s not an event or a day where I don’t lay on my back and worry about stuff. So everything we have in the city over the last 7 years I worry about. I didn’t enjoy the Democratic National Convention, I didn’t enjoy the NFL Draft, I’m waiting for something bad to happen all the time. I’ll be happy when I’m not here, when I’m not mayor and I can enjoy some stuff.”

A reporter followed up: You’re looking forward to not being mayor? “Yeah,” Kenney said with a sad chuckle. “As a matter of fact.”


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ASPartOfMe
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06 Jul 2022, 4:49 pm

Bullets That Struck Cops at Philly Fireworks Came From ‘Quite a Distance,' Police Say

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The bullets that injured two police officers at Philadelphia's July 4th fireworks show on Monday night were likely fired by a gun "quite a distance away," investigators believe.

The 40-caliber rounds that struck a city police officer and a Montgomery County sheriff's deputy, who were standing 20 feet apart at the time, came from the same gun, police Chief Inspector Frank Vanore said Wednesday.

He said the bullets could have been fired more than a mile away. Those 40-caliber bullets can travel up to 2,200 yards, depending on weather conditions and shot trajectory. The evidence currently suggests that the officers were not targeted, Vanore said.

Officer Sergio Diggs, 36, sustained a graze wound to the head and a Montgomery County sheriff's Deputy John Foster, 44, suffered a gunshot wound to the right shoulder in the shooting that erupted almost immediately at the onset of the fireworks over the Philadelphia Art Museum around 9:45 p.m. Both were treated and released from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital later that night.

On Tuesday, Philadelphia's police union offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a suspect in the bizarre — and so far unexplained — gunfire.

The gunman was not immediately arrested or identified. It was unclear if the officers were targeted or if they were struck during "celebratory gunfire" amid Fourth of July festivities, Outlaw said.

“The good news is that both officers have since been treated and released, and what really could have been a chaotic scene or a catastrophic scene wasn’t today," she said.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Jim Kenney apologized for comments he made shortly after the shooting. He had said he looked forward to a time when he was no longer mayor. Several elected city officials called out Kenney's remarks as lacking leadership amid a gun violence crisis, including one city councilman who demanded Kenney resign.

"When I express that frustration and people respond to it the way they did, it’s understandable," Kenney told NBC10 in an interview. "But I’m still a human being and I have feelings and emotions and being mayor doesn’t make you a robot."

He added, "Again, I apologize for being frustrated, but I do take my job personally and I take the problems we face personally. And I apologize for wearing my emotions on my sleeve."


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08 Jul 2022, 11:26 pm

I mean, if you're going to conduct such an operation, what better night than one that's already filled with gunshot noises?


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