Philadelphia has so many issues with gun violence lately it’s making our heads spin. And a new story out of the Democrat-controlled city only furthers the death toll.
Police say that a 16-year-old girl was killed in the city of brotherly love after stepping foot off of a city bus on Saturday night.
A report from ABC 6 said that the teen had been traveling on a city SEPTA bus Saturday afternoon and got off at her stop near 22nd and Sedgely Avenue in North Philadelphia.
When she climbed out of the bus, she was reportedly struck by a stray bullet and was hit in the shoulder. She was rushed to a hospital to be treated for her wounds, but later died, officials said.
According to authorities, three different witnessed attested to the fact that a 41-year-old suspect had been firing his handgun off at random when the stray round took the teen’s life.
“We have three witnesses who have identified him as the shooter,” said Acting Philadelphia Police Commissioner Christine Coulter.
Investigators say that during the incident, at least 14 rounds were fired from the suspect’s weapon.
“Every shooting is upsetting and everyone is somebody’s family member, but when it happens to children or teenagers it just seems the unfairness of it, the sadness of it, is magnified even more,” said Coulter.
The suspect has been arrested and charged in the girl’s death, but neither the gunman nor the teenage victim have been identified as of Sunday morning.
#BREAKING: Philadelphia police at 22nd & Sedgley.
Police confirm a teen girl has been shot. She was rushed to area hospital where she later died.
A suspect has been taken into custody.
— George Solis (@GeorgeSolis) November 30, 2019
Locals are shocked by the trend of random violence they’ve seen lately.
“You getting off the bus, you minding your business, you’re going home, wherever it is you’re going, and you have a life that’s gone, and it’s ridiculous,” a community member told ABC 6.
This is far from the only occurrence in which a child suffered at the hands of Philadelphia gun violence.
The city of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania is progressively getting worse when it comes to gun-related deaths and violence, and this year’s homicide rates are poised to topple the historic numbers of an extremely bloody 2007.
While large cities are often plagued by higher than normal homicide rates when comparing them to the rest of the United States, what’s harder to nonchalantly shrug off is when there’s a spike in violent deaths of children. These deaths are senseless and the community and its officials are feeling the magnitude of this recent spike.
The city’s violence that has been inadvertently corralling children into its mix was stirred up yet again when a 10-year-old boy was shot in the back of the head while he was walking home from school.
Semaj O’Branty, who is a student at the Sullivan elementary school, had dropped to the ground on the sidewalk when he was struck by the bullet. He was still wearing his backpack as witnesses rushed to cease the blood flowing from his neck.
Police say O’Branty was caught in the crossfire between a shooter in a red Pontiac G6 who escaped and the intended target of said attack, who was apprehended later that same day. Police released pictures of the car after obtaining surveillance video of the gunfire, which happened at 3:13 p.m. near where the young boy lives. There’s no report on the status of the search for the suspect occupying the red Pontiac at this time.
Semaj had undergone surgery the day following the shooting. He was last listed in critical, but stable, condition at the time and is expected to survive, but the incident adds to a troublesome list of recent shootings that have victimized children within the city.
The city has registered its highest number of homicides to date in 12 years, with an astounding 303 homicides thus far, which if staying on the trend set through the year will surpass 2007’s 344 murders.
It was the sixth time in 23 days that Philadelphia officers tended to a young child who had been shot. Before Semaj was gunned down on his walk home, there was 7-year-old Leslie who was shot and killed alongside his family in West Philadelphia. Before that atrocity, 2-year-old Nikolette was fatally shot while in her mother’s arms while they were inside their Kensington living room.
A Philadelphia judge revoked bail Friday morning for the 29-year-old man accused of shooting 11-month-old Yazeem Jenkins in North Philadelphia last month. Bail had previously been reduced from $100,000 to $50,000 on unrelated gun charges. https://t.co/Nloj4HPLU8 pic.twitter.com/PPMJx8YvK4
— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) November 1, 2019
Prior to that slaying, 11-month-old Yazeem was shot four times while he sat in a car with his stepmother. Also, in October, a woman fatally shot her two daughters, Damaya and Maxilla, ages 4 and 10 months, as well as their father, before turning the gun on herself.
Damyrra Jones, who admittedly shot her children and their father, was charged with three counts of murder, two counts of endangering welfare of children and one count of possessing instruments of crime.
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Captain John Walker of the 15th District Philadelphia Police Department made a statement regarding the uptick in shootings of children.
“Kids rarely get shot like this. In 30 years of my career, I haven’t seen it like this before.”
The acting Police Commissioner Christine Coulter had spoken recently WPVI on the recent incident involving the 10-year-old that’s in critical condition.
“Folks have just had enough. There’s never an excuse to open fire in an area a block from a school where kids are out there. It should never happen,” she said during the interview.
Mayor Jim Kenney had called for stricter federal and state gun-control laws to help his city, and others like it, with the rising gun violence mere hours before the shooting of Semaj O’Branty.
Just hours before a 10-year-old was shot walking home from school, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney laid out his plan to combat the growing gun violence in the city. He wants stronger gun laws at the state and federal level. https://t.co/1PvmOWAnOA
— Action News on 6abc (@6abc) November 7, 2019
Although, many politicians and second amendment advocates have argued that more laws on the books regarding gun control is a failed experiment, often citing cities like Chicago as being an example. Whatever the answer is in combatting and deterring our children from being victims of homicide and gun violence, we hope that the resolution is found soon.
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