PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Gunshots rang out on the Ben Franklin Parkway during Fourth of July fireworks. Two officers were hit.
Families were sent scrambling for cover.READ MORE: 2nd Street Festival Bringing Beer Gardens, Food Trucks, And Live Music To Northern Liberties For 1st Time In 2 Years
Authorities are looking into whether the two police officers were grazed by stray bullets. They were released from the hospital and are recovering.
The FOP is offering a $20,000 reward in the case.
Screams. Panic. Shouting.
There were gunshots, the sounds of which investigators say were concealed by a majestic fireworks display.
A Montgomery County Sheriff’s Deputy and a Philadelphia highway patrol officer are recovering at home after being struck by gunfire while working a security detail during Monday’s Fourth of July fireworks celebration on the Parkway.
The 36-year-old Philadelphia officer was identified as Sergio Diggs, a 13-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department. Diggs is assigned to the Highway Patrol Unit and was detailed to the Parkway for the Welcome America Concert and Fireworks Crowd Control.
The Montgomery County Sherriff’s Deputy was identified as 44-year-old John Foster. He is a 17-year veteran of the sheriff’s office and has been on the bomb squad for three years.
What happened on Fourth of July night in Philadelphia has left many numb, shocked and outraged.
You hear the fear in Julia Insalaco’s voice as she took this video from her apartment on Logan Square.
People run for blocks from the Welcome America Festival on the Ben Franklin Parkway after two police officers were shot while working in the area of 2500 Spring Garden Street. A truly terrifying scene on what was supposed to be a night of celebration. @CBSPhilly pic.twitter.com/Bye1OEzQmF
— Joe Holden (@JoeHoldenCBS3) July 5, 2022
“I kind of just was frozen, just standing there with the camera. I kind of started crying because in so much shock and I was like ‘I don’t know what’s going on. We should get inside,” Insalaco said.
Her words heard a day later convey a sense of concern.
“The terrible thing is I’m not surprised. The reason that my boyfriend and I weren’t down here is because, I figured something like this could happen. I’m honestly, I feel like so desensitized to it in Philly because people get shot everyday,” Insalaco said.
Meanwhile, what you won’t hear is anybody the day after the holiday from the Philadelphia Police Department providing an update. It’s just silence.
Sources close to the investigation tell CBS3 the investigation is steering in the direction the officers were possibly hit by stray gunfire by people shooting into the crowd or in the air. They believe the gunfire came from beyond the perimeter of the parkway.
“I mean, anything that goes up has to come down,” former Philadelphia Police Deputy Commissioner Joe Sullivan said.
An image FOP President John McNesby shared with CBS3 shows the bullet lodged into the hat Diggs was wearing. Also inside the hat is a prayer card for the FOP’s beloved chaplain, Steve Wetzel, who recently died.
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"An angel on his shoulder."
The Philly Police officer who was grazed in the head by a bullet during the 4th of July fireworks show on the parkway had a prayer card of the recently deceased chaplain of the force, Father Steve Wetzel, inside his hat ➡ https://t.co/nV54amQyDB pic.twitter.com/VVekZReG1l
— CBS Philly (@CBSPhilly) July 5, 2022
Sullivan says by looking at the bullet that was lodged in Diggs’ hat, it appears the bullet lost velocity before grazing him.
“Now, let’s be clear, that still could have killed or injured that officer. There is no doubt about it,” Sullivan said.
Sources say no ballistic evidence has been recovered in connection to the shooting.
With other big events on the horizon, Sullivan says the city should take a hard look at what security measures worked and what they could improve on to assure safety in the future.
“I believe we can win that trust back, but it’s going to take a lot of hard work, a lot of transparency and a lot of good solid open communication with the public,” Sullivan said.
Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office deputy John Foster (right) and @PhillyPolice officer Sergio Diggs (left) are recovering at home after being struck by gunfire while working a security detail during yesterday’s 4th of July celebration on the Ben Franklin Parkway. pic.twitter.com/MrN8emSsn0
— Madeleine Wright (@MWrightReports) July 5, 2022
Both officers were standing on the sidewalk, at the base of the Art Museum steps, south side, near the bike share rack when the incident occurred.
Foster was grazed in the shoulder and Diggs was grazed in the forehead. Both officers were treated for their injuries and released from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
Police say the shooting could have been so much worse.
“He is a very positive human being. If you’re having a bad day, he’s the kind of guy that picks you up, tells a joke, asks about your family so hearing it happened to John was devastating,” Montgomery County Sheriff Sean Kilkenny, Foster’s boss, said. “I called him earlier this morning and he is overwhelmed actually with the outpouring of support. Obviously, the shoulder where he was hit is sore, but he is OK.”
The sheriff’s office says many of their deputies provide security and specialized aid to neighboring areas during large events.
“While we are thankful that Deputy Foster and the injured Philadelphia officer are OK, we are troubled by the violence that turned what should have been a celebration into a near tragedy,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
CBS3 went to Foster’s house, but a man who opened the door declined to comment.
The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5 is now offering a $20,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest.
No arrests have been made at this time. Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 215-686-TIPS.
The city says anyone who was at the Parkway and left behind personal belongings can email firstname.lastname@example.org to reclaim them.MORE NEWS: 9 Wounded In Shooting Outside Cincinnati Bar, Police Say
CBS3’s Wakisha Bailey, Joe Holden, Madeleine Wright and Kerri Corrado contributed to this report.