PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Three men who were shot and killed in separate shootings in Philadelphia on New Year’s Day have been identified. Police say 41-year-old Eric Miller was gunned down in West Philadelphia while 24-year-old Javon Cooper and 27-year-old Malik Milburn were killed in a triple shooting in Frankford.
In total, six people were shot as 2020 got off to a violent start in the city.
Just before noon on New Year’s Day, Miller was Philadelphia’s first homicide victim of the year. The 41-year-old man was shot in the chest and back on North Hobart Street, near 59th and Arch Streets.
Neighbors there denounced the violence.
“Just the first day of the year and it’s really senseless. It’s a shame. It’s like, Lord, when is it going to stop?” Germaine Gordon said.
Just two hours later, Cooper and Milburn died in a triple shooting on the 4700 block of Griscom Street in Frankford. Acting Philadelphia Police Commissioner Christine Coulter says it all stemmed from a fight.
“Two males were involved in a fistfight and that went on for a few minutes and then one of the people, obviously a friend of the male who we believe was losing the fight at that time, pulled out a gun and started firing into the group,” Coulter said.
Police say a 32-year-old woman who was an innocent bystander was also shot and is recovering from gunshot wounds to the arm and hand.
By nightfall, a third shooting in North Philadelphia left a 27-year-old man fighting for his life. It happened on the 2200 block of North Cleveland Street, just before 7 p.m. A 21-year-old man was also shot but is expected to be OK.
Coulter says she believes all three shootings are solvable with help from the public.
“When murders happen at noon and 2 in the afternoon, lots of people know what happened and they need to be, homicide should be filled with witnesses today. We just need them to step up and say they want their neighborhoods back,” Coulter said.
The new year continued a disturbing trend from last year. In 2019, there were 356 homicides in Philadelphia — the highest number since 2007.
CBS3’s Trang Do contributed to this report.