Mayor Jim Kenney is calling on the Philadelphia police department to amp up its presence at local parks and public events this summer after two men opened fire at a playground cookout over the weekend in West Philly’s Overbrook neighborhood.
Seven people were hurt just before 9 p.m. Saturday when the two men, aged 18 and 25, opened fire on a group of people attending a cookout and basketball tournament at Baker Playground. No one was killed in the shooting, and all the victims were in stable condition. As of Monday, there were no arrests, and the shooters’ motive was unknown.
It was the second mass shooting at a public park in less than a month. On Father’s Day weekend, a 24-year-old man was killed and five others hurt when a gunman opened fire at a southwest Philadelphia playground.
Now, Kenney wants cops to cover public events that require a permit through the end of the summer.
According to the AP, there were no Philly officers assigned to Saturday’s cookout at Baker Playground when 20 shots rang out, event though several hundred people were in attendance.
“Apparently there were so many people and it was so noisy that when police responded the people on the basketball court were still playing basketball,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross told local media. “They didn’t even know gunshots had been erupted.”
On Sunday, community members gathered to discuss a strategy to combat local gun violence. CBS reported that speakers pointed to “the perception of young men of color, a lack of opportunity and jobs.”
“You tell them they’re a gangster, they’re going to believe,” one person said, according to the report. “You tell them they’re an animal, they’re going to believe, and you act accordingly.”
Recent police data shows nearly 1,300 reports of aggravated assaults with a gun this year, which is a 9 percent increase over the same time period last year.