After Wednesday night’s quintuple shooting at Roberto Clemente Playground in Spring Garden, a woman e-mailed City Council President Darrell Clarke and the mayor. “I am writing yet again, less than a month since my last email, to beg for help,” she wrote. “The situation on and around Wallace St. is escalating. 55 shots fired tonight. In a children’s playground.”
It was the eighth shooting in Spring Garden this year. Three weeks ago, the woman had e-mailed Clarke after another Wallace Street incident.
“The expectation is we should be able to walk our streets without being shot,” she said Thursday, on the condition her name not be used for fear of retribution.
Wednesday night’s shooting on the 1800 block of Wallace was “what we were trying to avoid,” she said. “But we’re here now.”
Her concerns have been echoed by other residents in Spring Garden, a neighborhood with both economic and racial diversity, with gentrifying areas and blocks of deep poverty.
Gun violence has been a problem across Philadelphia this year. There have been 323 homicides in the city as of Wednesday night, a 32% increase from the same period last year, and more than the year-end homicide counts for almost every year from 2009 through 2017, according to police statistics.
There have been 1,475 shootings in the city as of Wednesday, a figure that exceeds the total year-end number of shootings from the last five years. From 2015 to 2017, there were about 1,250 shootings each year. In 2018, there were 1,401 shootings and 1,463 last year.
Kenney, in an e-mailed statement Thursday, said the city is “devastated” by a violent year, and “our hearts go out to the families of everyone affected by last night’s shooting.”
“We will continue to do everything we can do,” Clarke said in an interview, but one factor is an ongoing problem — “the availability of illegal weapons.”
In Wednesday’s shooting at the park’s basketball court, police responded about 8:10 p.m. to numerous 911 calls about gunfire. Two men, ages 18 and 21, had been fatally shot.
Surveillance video showed three assailants opening fire on a group of about 15 people, Chief Inspector Scott Small said. Police found 55 spent shell casings from two separate caliber firearms, he said.
Officers found 21-year-old Khalid Henderson, of the 1600 block of Wallace Street, unresponsive on the court and carried him to a 9th District patrol car. Before they left for the hospital, medics arrived and pronounced him dead at 8:25 p.m. in the backseat.
Police said an 18-year-old man, with gunshot wounds to his torso, was pronounced dead about two hours later. He was identified as Jayden Lucas, of Oxford Circle.
Three other men, one 18 and two others