PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Six people were gunned down on a street corner in Philadelphia’s East Germantown neighborhood during a burst of violence overnight. Police say one of the victims was hit by a stray bullet while sleeping in his bed.
Police were in the area of Chew and Chelten Avenues when they heard the gunshots erupt just before midnight. When they arrived on the 700 block of East Chelten Avenue they found five men in the street shot. Police say they range in age from 18 to 26 years old.
Soon after responding, officers realized a 49-year-old man had been shot in his second-floor apartment. Investigators say a stray bullet pierced his window and hit him in the leg.
“He tells us he was laying in bed when a bullet came through his window and struck him the upper thigh, groin area,” Philadelphia Police Chief Scott Small said.
More than 30 spent shell casings were also found at the scene.
Police took all six men to Einstein Medical Center where most are now in stable condition. But police say a 23-year-old man who was shot in the chest is in critical condition.
“Innocent people are getting shot for no reason,” resident Robert Holman said.
Robert Holman is well known in the neighborhood, born and raised in East Germantown, but he has never seen the violence this out of control.
“I’m afraid for my grandkids and my children. I’m afraid for the children in the neighborhood. I’m afraid for myself. You never know when a bullet is going to come out,” Holman said.
Police are now looking for the people responsible for this latest round of gun violence. They say they have an idea about what led to the violence.
“We are working very hard to find out the reasons for this, but what we do know is that we do have group-on-group violence in various parts of the city that’s plaguing us right now. That’s more than likely the reason for this particular situation,” Philadelphia Police Deputy Commissioner Melvin Singleton said. “We know that we have group-on-group violence on this particular block, in this particular area.”
Neighbors here say it’s time to put that aside.
“Thou shall not kill went out the window, right? So what happened?” neighbor Walton Warner said. “I’m trying to go to heaven. That’s not the way to go to heaven.”
Holman adds, “At the end of the day, you’ll ruin your life and other people’s life.”
Police will be reviewing surveillance and speaking to eyewitnesses.