PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A plea to put the guns down. Community leaders, elected officials, and Philadelphia residents on Saturday are saying enough is enough as the number of gun violence victims continues to rise at a historic pace.
On Friday night, an 11-year-old boy was murdered and a 14-year-old also wounded when someone shot them while they were riding their bikes. Hours later, a mass shooting at a Philadelphia social club in Fishtown left seven people hospitalized.READ MORE: Allegations Of Sexual Misconduct Involving Ocean City Beach Patrol Members Under Investigation
A rally for actual change in South Philly.
“They be enemies on the street, and they wind up neighbors in the graveyard,” Sean Berry of South Philadelphia said.
Thomas B. Smith Playground is the latest backdrop as Philadelphia continues to grip with a gun violence epidemic that’s trending younger by the day.
Friday alone saw seven people shot in Fishtown and a child killed in the northeast identified as 11-year-old Harley Belance. No arrests have been made.
“We want to send a clear message, a clear message to every person who picks up a gun and decides to take another person’s life,” Councilman Kenyatta Johnson said. “It will not be tolerated.”READ MORE: Multiple Faiths Joining Forces To Combat Philadelphia's Rising Gun Violence
Johnson hosted the rally. His office says he hopes to gather community input to present to City Council that will put more police at rec centers, update security cameras and increase budgets to invest in violence protection programs.
“That is because they have no hope. They don’t value their own lives,” Urban League of Philadelphia CEI Andrea Custis said. “So, what does it mean? You shoot a gun, you kill a person, it’s that trite because they don’t believe they’ll live past a certain age. So, there’s no hope in the community that it’ll be better. They hear people say things, but the action never comes to fruition.”
As of midnight Saturday, there have been 114 homicides in Philadelphia this year, according to police statistics. That’s a sharp increase of 30% from a record-breaking year that saw 499 people murdered in 2020.
“We have to do more. We have to make sure during this upcoming budget process, we are giving young people the opportunity to have resources,” Johnson said.
Hopefully before it’s too late.
“I don’t want us to get numb,” Custis said. “I want us to say one life is so impotent and we have to stop this.”MORE NEWS: 2 Mothers, Babies Rushed To Hospital After Being Rescued From Burning Frankford Apartment Building, Officials Say
For a list of gun violence resources in Philadelphia, click here.