PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia police are investigating after a man opened fire at a memorial gathering — an event that should not have happened during a time of social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic. In the end, five people were shot, including a 1-year-old boy and two teenagers, in North Philadelphia.
Those people were together celebrating the life of someone who was recently killed. Stay-at-home orders are still in place and police say that gathering never should’ve happened.
The shooting happened just before 10 p.m. Monday on the 2300 block of West Harold Street.
When police arrived on scene, they found five people shot. The little boy was shot in his backside and was taken to St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in critical condition.
The boy’s 18-year-old mother and three other women were also hurt. They were all taken to Temple University Hospital.
Police say they were in a large group celebrating the birthday of a man who was shot and killed a few days ago. But in doing so, they were violating the law.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said people can be arrested if seen in large groups.
“Arrest is not off the table but obviously given that this is a public health issue, we want to make sure that we don’t interject in situations that will put either our officers or the citizens at more risk, making situations worse than they are,” Outlaw said.
Outlaw said officers will be using discretion going forward.
Mayor Jim Kenney also called on Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner to enforce all firearm-related charges during the pandemic.
Krasner’s office fired back at the Kenney administration, saying over the last 11 days they’ve filed charges in at least 10 violent crime cases and have reviewed 71 cases involving illegal guns.
“The DAO has vigorously prosecuted and has not declined to charge a single individual arrested by police during the COVID-19 emergency for a shooting, homicide, or other violent crime,” the DA’s office said in a statement.
Police say a man wearing dark clothing fired into a crowd from a half-block away.
All the victims are expected to recover.
“Ending the epidemic of gun violence in our city has always been a top priority. As we have said time and time again, every act of gun violence diminishes us all,” City Council President Darrell Clarke said. “The lawlessness and thoughtlessness of those who pick up a gun and fire it into a crowd must be strongly condemned.”
If you have any information on this incident, call police.