Police in Philadelphia were hunting for multiple gunmen Sunday after a shooting rampage amidst a crowd of revelers on a downtown Philadelphia street killed three people, wounded 11 more and ignited chaos as people fled the carnage.
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. Fourteen people were hit by gunfire and three were hit by vehicles in a mad scramble to safety after the shooting 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 if the shooter was wounded, Pace said.
“The officer engaged the shooter, 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 later 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 can be added to firearms so they carry more bullets.
“Numerous” shell casings were recovered from the scene, an area lined with trendy shops, bars and restaurants.
Mayor Jim Kenney called the assault “beyond devastating” and said updates on the investigation would be released as more information becomes available.
“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 were seeking help from many local 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.”
Eric Walsh, who works at a bar in the area, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that he saw a young woman collapse to the ground.
“People were coming off the street with blood splatters on white sneakers and skinned knees and skinned elbows,” Walsh said. “We literally just were balling up napkins and wetting them and handing them to people.”
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