PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The gun violence crisis in Philadelphia is at a boiling point. Another teenager has been gunned down Friday night.
Just like Thursday night, gunshots ran out again at a city rec center, ending a young person’s life. It happened by the Francis Myers Recreation Center on the 5800 block of Kingsessing Avenue.READ MORE: Man Shot At Least 8 Times In Strawberry Mansion Left In Critical Condition, Police Say
Gunfire erupted just before 8 p.m. on Friday. A 17-year-old boy was shot and killed.
Officers remain on the scene combing for clues.
The shooting happened just hours after the city’s police commissioner announced she’s working to make officers more visible in high-crime areas.
“As a city, we all gotta do better,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said.
On Friday, Outlaw said there will be beefed-up patrols in areas experiencing gun violence after two shootings that involved teenagers Thursday.
“We need our communities to know that there will be far more boots on the ground and our presence will absolutely be visible,” Outlaw said.
Thursday’s gunfire began in broad daylight in the city’s Overbrook section. Two people were killed, including a 17-year-old boy.
Then, hours later, a triple shooting at the Christy Recreation Center in West Philadelphia took the life of a 16-year-old boy identified as Kahree Simmons and hurt two other teens.
“It’s tough. That’s the rec center I grew right around the corner from there. I mean, I played basketball for hours and hours and hours at Christy Rec Center. And so, no it hit close very close to home,” said Otis Hackney, Philadelphia’s chief education officer.READ MORE: Delaware Gov. John Carney Requests Disaster Declaration From President Joe Biden Due Damaged Caused By Ida
He says back when schools were open, teachers could better engage students and defuse conflicts.
“Now students, if they’re having an issue they don’t have that adult intervention. Right now, students are solving problems on their own,” Hackney said.
Sometimes with deadly consequences. Shootings involving children in Philadelphia have skyrocketed so far this year compared to the same time last year. In 2020, over 100 minors were shot.
So Hackney says the city offering programs for teenagers this summer is crucial to curbing the violence.
“As soon as we can get our children reengaged in schools and our rec centers, and with adults that can help and support them is a priority of the city,” Hackney said.
Commissioner Outlaw says they need the communities to know their presence will absolutely be visible heading forward and is calling on adults in the community to help police bridge the gap in squashing these issues before they result in gunfire.
Some city and state leaders are planning to hold an emergency meeting at Christy Recreation Center Saturday at 2 p.m.
Meantime, police are still searching for a gunman in the string of shootings.
For a list of gun violence resources in Philadelphia, click here.MORE NEWS: Montgomery County Department Of Public Safety Is Hiring
CBS3’s Dan Koob and Matt Petrillo contributed to this report.