By Matt Petrillo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Eyewitness News is learning more about the two young men gunned down during a July 4th cookout in West Philadelphia. CBS3’s Matt Petrillo was at City Hall Tuesday, where an elected official said he’s related to one of the victims.

State Sen. Sharif Street made an emotional plea Tuesday while calling for tougher federal gun laws. He says his nephew, 21-year-old Salahaldin Mahmoud, was one of the men killed in a West Philadelphia shooting that left another man dead and two teens injured on the Fourth of July.

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“Lala was a real person,” Street said.

Street says his wife is his first cousin.

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He was killed when more than 100 shots were fired during a cookout on Sunday night. Street says Mahmoud had a good life ahead of him and was just starting his own tow truck business.

“It’s not acceptable that we do nothing repeatedly,” Street said.

Street became visibly upset when saying to really curb gun violence, laws at the federal level are needed — like universal background checks. But some also say the city should have a bigger police presence.

“Probably, but we also need to make sure they’re deployed and trained in the right kind of way,” Street said when asked about police presence.

Philadelphia’s Police Union President John McNesby says the city is down between 300 and 1,000 officers.

“There’s not enough cops out there,” McNesby said. “There’s not a whole lot of people committing a whole lot of crime in Philly. It’s a small amount committing a whole lot,” McNesby said. “They know nothing’s happening to them, they don’t care.”

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McNesby also says the city’s skyrocketing homicide rate for this year is stretching police thin. The homicide rate currently stands at 285 — that’s more than the homicide rate for the entire year in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.