The gunfire came just before midnight along the 200 block of busy South Street, police told WPVI. Police working in the area heard the shots and responded to find “several active shooters” firing into a crowd of people, a police official told the station. The dead included a 25-year-old woman and a 22-year-old man and another man whose age was unknown.
“Emergency personnel are responding to a shooting incident in the area of 3rd and South Streets. Several people have been injured,” Philadelphia police tweeted just two minutes before midnight. “Please avoid the area.”
*Alert* Emergency personnel are responding to a shooting incident in the area of 3rd and South Streets. Several people have been injured. Please avoid the area.
— Philadelphia Police (@PhillyPolice) June 5, 2022
One officer was “within about 10 to 15 yards” of one of the people shooting into the crowd and fired at the suspect, Police Inspector D.F. Pace told reporters at an early-morning news conference.
“We’re uncertain whether he was struck or not, but the officer was able to get that individual to drop his gun and flee,” Pace said, although The Philadelphia Inquirer later reported that one of the suspects was taken to an area hospital.
South Street is known for nightlife, with an array of bars and restaurants.
““You can imagine there were hundreds of individuals just enjoying South Street, as they do every single weekend, when this shooting broke out,” Pace said.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney called the incident “devastating” for the City of Brotherly Love.
“The events that transpired last evening on South Street are beyond devastating,” Kenney said. “Once again, we see lives senselessly lost and those injured in yet another horrendous, brazen and despicable act of gun violence.”
Police recovered two handguns and “numerous” shell casings at the scene, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. They were gathering surveillance video to help identify the shooters.
”Once it started I didn’t think it was going to stop,” said Joe Smith, 23, who told the newspaper he was waiting outside of the Theatre of the Living Arts on South Street when he heard shots just 10 feet away. ”Once it started I didn’t think it was going to stop. There was guttural screaming. I just heard screams.”