The gunfire erupted around 11:31 pm along South Street — a bustling area in the city’s Queen Village neighborhood.
Authorities said officers assigned to the 200 block of South Street heard the initial gunfire and quickly responded. Upon arrival, officers found several gunshot victims and an unknown man firing into a crowd of people, said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw during a Sunday afternoon briefing.
One officer pulled out his weapon and fired several times in the direction of the gunman. Police said the gunman fled, but it’s believed he was hit by the officer’s gunfire.
Residents are shocked at what unfolded in their neighborhood.
“It went on for much longer than I thought it should go on. At that point, you question ‘what is that?’ I knew it must’ve been gunshots. It must’ve been 30 shots I heard,” said resident Frank Snyder.
Authorities said the officer who discharged his weapon is a three-and-a-half-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department. He is assigned to the 18th District. As per protocol, the officer has been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation.
Investigators believe one of the three killed was involved in “a physical altercation” with another man, and those two began firing at each other, with both struck by gunfire and one killed, Outlaw said.
The two other people killed and a number of other shooting victims, who ranged in age from 17 to 69, are believed to have been innocent bystanders, Outlaw said.
AFT Pennsylvania, the union that represents over 36,000 educators and paraprofessionals, identified one of the victims killed as 22-year-old Kris Minners.
Minners was a second-grade resident advisor at Girard College and a member of the Girard College Federation of Teachers. Girard College is a five-day boarding school in Philadelphia for students grades 1-12.
“Our hearts are heavy today with the passing of Kris Minners, a second-grade boys’ resident advisor at Girard College and member of our union, yet another victim of senseless gun violence. Our thoughts are with Mr. Minners’ family who woke up this morning missing someone at their breakfast table, his colleagues who will be without a friend, and with his students who will be without a mentor and a role model,” said the union in a statement.
SEE ALSO: What we know about victims killed in South Street mass shooting
Friends and loved ones have also identified another one of the deceased as 34-year-old Greg “Japan” Jackson. He was an avid skater at Millennium Skate World and well-known in the boxing community.
Philadelphia police identified the third victim as 27-year-old Alexis Quinn.
Outlaw called it “a dark day” for the city when many people out enjoying a beautiful day were victims of “horrendous and unthinkable acts … in a very popular local and tourist hangout.”
“It’s important that we bring justice to the victims, their families and our community,” Outlaw said.
The three people who died are a 26 year old woman, 22 year old man, and 34 year old man.
Sources now say an additional 12 people were shot. https://t.co/SoER2GTmEp
— Beccah Hendrickson (@Beccah6abc) June 5, 2022
Searching for the suspects
In new video obtained by ABC News, there was an exchange between three men, right outside the Rita’s between 2nd and 3rd streets.
Someone threw a punch at a man in a black T-shirt. More words are exchanged.
About a minute later, a man in a white T-shirt pulls a gun from his waistband. Then there is a scuffle
They move out of frame and the gunshots go off.
The man with the gun has been identified by sources as Greg “Japan” Jackson.
Police said the other two victims were innocent bystanders.
At least two guns were recovered from the scene. Police Inspector DF Pace said one of the guns had an extended magazine.
Police believe five guns were used by four people in the shootout. ‘Numerous’ shell casings were found blocks from the crime scene, authorities said.
In addition, police are investigating several other shootings before and afterward, one fatal, to see whether they might be related.
No arrests have been made at this time.
In Reno, Nevada at the Annual Meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors, Mayor Jim Kenney issued a statement Sunday morning saying he was ‘beyond devastated’ by this shooting.
In a one-on-one interview with Action News, he spoke about the city’s gun problem.
“It’s gotten to the point where there’s no price to pay for carrying illegal guns, so people carry them because they don’t think anything is going to happen,” said Kenney, who was on his way back to Philadelphia.
Kenney said he’s up to state and federal officials to enact tougher gun laws, but said he has no confidence they will.
Survivor speaks out
The sheer number of victims meant rescuers had to transport them to three different hospitals, including Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
Action News spoke with one of the survivors, Jon Johnson, outside the hospital on Sunday morning. He had been shot in the foot.
“You had some sick maniac, I don’t know who it was because my back was turned, and he started shooting at everybody,” Johnson said. “Some people made it, some people didn’t. Me, personally, I saw two people die right in front of my face.”
John Johnson was out having fun with his friends when the shooters opened fire. He looked down and saw a hole in his sneakers and smoke coming out of his foot. He says he saw people die around him. He feels fortunate he made it to the hospital @6abc pic.twitter.com/Gu2wIyn9JG
— Beccah Hendrickson (@Beccah6abc) June 5, 2022
Outlaw said police would bolster resources Sunday night in that area, as well as in the nearby Penn’s Landing area along the Delaware River that separates Pennsylvania from New Jersey.
South Street is known for its entertainment venues and night life with multiple bars, restaurants and businesses. Video posted on social media showed scores of people milling about on the sidewalks and in the street, then fleeing as the gunfire broke out. Police were seeking video surveillance footage from businesses in the area.
According to the City of Philadelphia, there will be no pedestrian or vehicular traffic between Front & 6th Streets from Bainbridge to Lombard due to “patterns of recent violence in the area and ongoing safety concerns.”
The order is in effect from 8 pm Sunday until 6 am tomorrow.
Exceptions to these restrictions are the following: residents of the applicable area, owners of real property in the applicable area and employees, licensed medical personnel, members of the media, and law enforcement authorities.
⚠️ By order of the Mayor: From 8 pm tonight until 6 am tomorrow, to avoid congregation, and due to patterns of recent violence in the area and ongoing safety concerns, there will be no pedestrian or vehicular traffic between Front & 6th Streets from Bainbridge to Lombard. pic.twitter.com/H18WXuxeq1
— City of Philadelphia (@PhiladelphiaGov) June 5, 2022
Full statement from Mayor Kenney:
“The events that transpired last evening on South Street are beyond devastating. Once again, we see lives senselessly lost and those injured in yet another horrendous, brazen and despicable act of gun violence. My heart is with the family, friends, loved ones of those lost or injured, and with everyone impacted by this terrible tragedy.
The Police Department is investigating this heinous crime to ensure the people who are responsible are brought to justice. I urge anyone with information about this incident, or any other crimes, to report it to 215-686-TIPS. Tips can be submitted anonymously. This is a complex, ongoing investigation and we will release more information about this incident as information becomes available.
Our city and country have experienced a steep rise in gun violence over the past few years. We’ve spent these years grappling with this rising epidemic and doing everything in our power not only to stop it but to try to understand why the violence continues-it’s senseless, needless, and deeply troubling.
I know this shooting has shaken many people in our community. The safety of our residents and visitors is our top priority. We cannot accept continued violence as a way of life in our country. Until we address the availability and ease of access to firearms, we will always be fighting an uphill battle. As Mayor, I will continue to fight to protect our communities and urge others to advocate for stronger laws that keep guns out of the hands of violent individuals.
The surge in gun violence that we’ve seen across the nation and here in Philadelphia makes me not just heartbroken, but angry. Our administration, in partnership with all of our local and federal law enforcement agencies, continues to work relentlessly to reduce violence and create safer communities.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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