Hours later, a shooting at a Tennessee nightclub left three dead and 14 wounded in Chattanooga as gun violence continued its unrelenting sweep across the nation. Three people were hit by vehicles in a mad scramble when the shooting started shortly before 3 a.m., Chattanooga Police Chief Celeste Murphy said.
In Philadelphia, police issued an alert on Twitter shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday that emergency personnel were responding and “several people have been injured. Please avoid the area.”
Officers patrolling the popular South Street entertainment district heard the shots and saw what appeared to be multiple gunmen, Philadelphia Police Inspector D. F. Pace said at a briefing. One officer shot at a suspect; it was not immediately clear whether the shooter was wounded, Pace said.
“The officer engaged the shooter,” Pace said, “and as a result of that brave officer – and again we are uncertain whether he was struck or not – but the officer was able to get that individual to drop his gun and flee.”
Two men and a woman were killed, all suffered multiple gunshot wounds, Pace said. Damien Woods, a spokesman for Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, said 10 people were transported to the hospital. Three were deceased, one was released and the other six were in stable condition.
No arrests were made. Two handguns were recovered at the scene, including one with an extended magazine. Extended or high-capacity magazines carry more bullets.
“Numerous” shell casings were recovered from the area lined with trendy shops, bars and restaurants.
Mayor Jim Kenney called the assault “beyond devastating.” Updates on the investigation would be released as more information becomes available, he said.
“Once again, we see lives senselessly lost and those injured in yet another horrendous, brazen and despicable act of gun violence,” Kenney said. “Until we address the availability and ease of access to firearms, we will always be fighting an uphill battle.”
Police sought help from businesses to gather surveillance video of the attack.
“There were hundreds of individuals just enjoying South Street, as they do every single weekend, when this shooting broke out,” Pace said. “This investigation is fluid. There are still a lot of unanswered questions.”
Andy Vogel, who has lived just off South Street for about 15 years, said he feels unsafe in his own city.
“I’m not surprised by the shootings anymore,” he said. “I’m just disheartened.”
Police are visible on nearly every corner of South Street in the evenings, yet they could not prevent the mass shooting, he sa
“Either the police are not doing a good enough job, or it is impossible for them to do a good enough job,” Vogel said. “At some point, I believe guns are going to be outlawed.”
Maureen Long, who lives nearby, said she was “furious.”
“Not just for my neighborhood, for the whole country,” she told nbcphiladelphia.com. “If I hear one more time ‘thoughts and prayers’… We cannot disagree about this. We have to do something. I don’t care what your political leanings are.
“We can’t continue to let people kill people.”
Adam Garber, executive director of the advocacy group CeaseFirePA Education Fund, called the shooting “entirely predictable” and called on state lawmakers in Harrisburg to tighten firearms controls.
It will only end when elected officials… take action,” Garber said of the violence. “When they say that no one needs an extended magazine to hunt. That no one needs an assault weapon for safety.”
In Chattanooga, Murphy said there were multiple shooters but that the shooting was considered an isolated incident. Authorities don’t believe there’s an ongoing public safety threat.
“We’re trying to determine exactly what happened and what led up to this taking place,” she said.
Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 6 dead, 25 wounded in Philadelphia, Chattanooga club shootings