CHESTER, Pa. (CBS) — Plunged into a weekend of increased violence. The worst of it took place Saturday on at a basketball court where four people were hit in what police sources described a “sniper style” shooting.
Investigators say someone fired down on the court from a nearby hill. Officers recovered semi-automatic rifle and handgun rounds.
Twenty four hours later, the basketball court, which sits in the shadow of I-95, was eerily quiet.
“We were all out here, all the kids, everybody had to rush their kids inside,” said local resident Patricia Madison.
Madison and Kevin Eads say this is life in Chester, and they’ve lost track of all the shootings.
“People are fighting over territory because they’re trying to make some money, when in they could instead get out here and get a job,” said Eads.
Sources say the numbers reflect increased conflict between drug dealers. Hoping to reverse already higher-than-normal shooting and homicide stats for 2017 — the city in may announced state police would join Chester City on patrols.
A grant from the DA’s office paid for it.
A spokeswoman for the DA confirmed Sunday night the partnership is still ongoing.
It’s not clear what effect additional officers has had — numerous calls and emails to Chester’s Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland weren’t returned.
“People need to look at this baby’s faces and say, let’s relax, there’s kids involved,” Madison said.
Few can say they haven’t been touched by the violence. Her brother was shot in the hand earlier this month, and Kevin – he was once part it – before having children.
“I was in the streets heavy, and then I had kids, so I would never put myself back in that situation, for the sake of my kids, I don’t want them caught in a crossfire myself,” he said.