PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Nearly two dozen people were shot this weekend in Philadelphia. Three of the victims were children.
Homicides are up nearly 25% from this time last year.
On Monday afternoon, a rally was held outside City Hall, demanding change and pleading for people to put down the guns. Many are asking what the city’s plan is to curb gun violence.
Philadelphia’s City Council will hold two public hearings on gun violence prevention Tuesday and Wednesday, following a weekend where three children were shot. So far this year, 103 children have been shot in the city.
“They have to stop,” said Barbara Everett of Grays Ferry. “The children can’t even play in the streets anymore. It’s sad.”
Roughly a week after the shooting death of 7-year-old Zamar Jones sent outrage through the city, another little boy was shot on his porch Sunday night. A bullet grazed the back of an 11-year-old boy who was enjoying a family cookout on the 1500 block of South Napa Street in Grays Ferry just after 7:45 p.m. A man and woman were also shot.
“They made nine shots, real loud,” said Earl Taylor, who lives across the street. “I looked out the window and I saw the young man laying on the steps.”
Saturday, bullets grazed another 11-year-old boy’s shoulder and head as he walked from playing basketball at the Olney Recreation Center just before 10 p.m.
Right around the same time, a 17-year-old boy and a pregnant woman were among six people shot at the Clayborn and Lewis playground at 38th and Poplar in West Philadelphia. Police tell Eyewitness News 31 people were shot in the city Friday through Sunday.
“This is an issue that the whole city of Philadelphia needs to stand up and get involved to address,” said Councilman Kenyatta Johnson.
Johnson, Chair of Council’s Special Committee on Gun Violence, has planned two public hearings on gun violence prevention Tuesday and Wednesday. Commissioner Danielle Outlaw and District Attorney Larry Krasner are expected to testify.
Outlaw addressed the issue at the Peace, Not Guns Rally outside of City Hall Monday afternoon.
“We are just one small piece of this, we don’t control the culture of violence that we see,” Commissioner Outlaw told the crowd of hundreds. “Folks have to be held accountable too. We average, the police department averages, so far this year, we’ve taken 77 guns a week off the street.”
The message at the rally was clear — stop shooting people.
“We live in a city and day in and day out African-American young men and women and pregnant women are shot and murdered. And we go about our lives every single day as if nothing has happened, as if it’s normal. Shame on us!” Johnson said.
Many in attendance say if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. And it all starts with a simple conversation.
“Believe in our youth, tell them that they’re going to be somebody,” one speaker said.
Some of Councilman Johnson’s ideas for stemming gun violence include creating opportunities for young people, teaching trauma and conflict resolution in schools and calling on the ATF to track illegal guns.
“There are so many guns in the street, there are so many guns that our children have access to,” Councilman Johnson said. “We need to get down to the bottom of where these guns are coming from.”
The gun violence hearings are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. The hearings will be broadcast on the City Council website.
CBS3’s Trang Do and Kimberly Davis contributed to this report.