PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The City of Philadelphia’s 2020 homicide total stands at 363 after six murders on Monday and one Tuesday morning. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw called the recent uptick in gun violence across Philadelphia “tragic, shameful, and sickening.”
Two words seem to capture the so-called “gun violence pandemic” and “harsh reality.”
Press conferences have seemingly dwindled under Outlaw’s leadership of the force, but after the homicide count for 2020 eclipsed the entire number of killings in 2019, the commissioner and top commanders called for a conference, saying every act of gun violence is tragic and it’s shameful when children are the victims.
She began with saying Philadelphia finds itself lamenting over the violence.
The city’s grim milestone, which now in just early October passes all of the 356 homicides in Philadelphia last year, was matched by what happened outside of a South Philadelphia Lowe’s around 1 p.m. Monday.
That’s when, police say, a 21-year-old employee of the home improvement store was shot nine times in the parking lot. The victim was rushed to Jefferson Hospital and was pronounced dead.
“They should try to take all these guns from these young kids because they don’t value life anymore,” South Philadelphia resident John Upshur said.
Unfortunately, the milestone was topped by at least five more killings on Monday afternoon.
A 19-year-old victim was the seventh person gunned down in the city within 24 hours. It happened inside a Chinese takeout restaurant in Philadelphia’s Kingsessing neighborhood just after 12:30 a.m. Tuesday.
The city’s homicide rate is now the highest it has been since 1991.
“Just one murder is too many, and we must continue to work together within the community and with our city, state and federal partners in order for lasting progress to be made,” Outlaw said.
Despite the overall rise in homicides, Outlaw says there are positive trends in reducing homicides and increasing arrests. Philadelphia police say the city’s overall homicide rates are down 10% from September to October compared to August to September.
Killings in a half-dozen districts are down dramatically.
Outlaw called Monday’s six homicides a “set back” in the positive trends.
Outlaw says she understands the frustrations coming from the residents who live in high-crime neighborhoods and asks that they come forward if or when they have information regarding a crime.
“We are only one component of the criminal justice system and the notion that the police department alone is not only erroneous but it also absolves other stakeholders of their duty to participate in the solution to this public health crisis,” Outlaw said. “Fortunately, we do not stand alone in managing this crisis. Positive and sustained impact will require a collective and holistic effort from law enforcement, the community and all other who are serious about saving lives during this crisis.”
Ben Nash, head of investigations for the Philadelphia Police Department, says the surge in gun violence is happening across the nation and that it’s being caused by an influx of illegal guns on the streets.
CBS3’s Joe Holden contributed to this report.