PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A chaotic scene unfolded in South Philadelphia after multiple gunmen opened fire into a crowd of people on South Street. Police say three people were killed and 12 others were injured in the mass shooting that took place late Saturday night on the 200 block of South Street.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney issued a statement following the mass shooting reading in part:

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The events that transpired last evening on South Street are beyond devastating. Once again, we see lives lost and people injured in yet another horrendous, brazen and despicable act of gun violence. Our city and country have experienced a steep rise in gun violence over the past few years. We’ve spent these years grappling with this epidemic—doing everything not only to stop it but to try to understand why the violence continues—it’s senseless, needless and deeply troubling. I know this shooting has shaken our community. The safety of our residents and visitors is our top priority. Our administration, in partnership with our local and federal law enforcement agencies, continues to work relentlessly to reduce violence and create safer communities.

CBS3 spoke to a neighbor who says at first, she was in denial the noises she heard were gunshots.

“I was in bed and I heard, rat a tat tat tat tat. I thought, is that gunfire? No, it can’t be, then I’m listening for sirens, heard some in the distance, but not a lot. I thought it couldn’t be, I guess it’s denial. You don’t think it’s happening here,” neighbor Maureen Long said.

Maureen Long spent 50 years working in healthcare before retiring, she says the violence problem across the nation is a public health emergency and is “not simply crime.”

When she woke up Sunday morning and found out what happened right near her home, at first she was “calm” but then her emotions caught up to her.

“Within 15 minutes I’m in tears, texting my family, it happened. It’s too close to home. I was so outraged. I’m so angry, after Buffalo, Uvalde, we have to do something. I’m retired now, I don’t know what my next phase in life is going to be.”

Long recalls what the neighborhood was like back in the 70s and 80s. She says thousands of people would come and go out to the restaurants, but in the last 10 years, that has changed.

“Over the last 10 years I characterize it as a boardwalk for underage drinkers and I don’t come out at night, mostly because of my age, most neighborhood folks don’t. They come from other parts of the city, young, I know a lot of stuff happens here late on Friday or Saturday nights when the weather is good. I’ve never seen anything like this, not a mass shooting.”

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While she was frightened by the shooting, she says she is probably not going to run away from the neighborhood because there is so much good about it including its diversity and quirkiness.

Another resident CBS3 spoke with also says it is a great place to live, but in the 3.5 years he’s lived on South Street, the violence has become more frequent.

“It’s gotten more and more frequent as time has gone on,” the neighbor said. “I just don’t feel safe going out at night in this area. I did in the beginning. I used to walk down there all the time at night, but I don’t feel safe doing that [now].”

He stays home at night after hours in order to remain safe, but wouldn’t consider moving because he loves the neighborhood.

“I love the neighborhood. Close to historic center, close to downtown, Rittenhouse, can get to any of the squares, too many things I like, love actually, about this city to make me think about moving. I just won’t go out at night,” he said.

Philadelphia police are actively searching for the gunmen wanted in this tragic shooting. They hope surveillance videos from businesses along South Street will lead them to the shooters.

CBS3’s Ross DiMattei and Alyssa Adams contributed to this report. Stay with CBSPhilly.com, CBS3, and CBS News Philly for continuing coverage of this breaking news story. 

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For a list of gun violence resources in Philadelphia, click here.