COVID-19 in Philly: Shootings continue to surge despite stay-at-home order

The skyline in Center City Philadelphia (Philadelphia Tribune photo)

By John N. Mitchell

PHILADELPHIA — Shootings continue to surge across the Philadelphia even while the city is under a stay-at-home order.

There have been 106 shootings in the city since the beginning of March, and just this weekend five people were killed and others were wounded in shootings across the city. Police have counted 93 homicide victims since the beginning of the year — a 21% increase over the same date last year.

“We are constantly analyzing and evaluating the causes of, and conditions that contribute to, violent crime,” said Staff Inspector Sekou Kinebrew, “and we are committed to employing every available resource to combat violent crime and disrupt criminal activity.

“That state, the ‘stay at home’ order is not a panacea for eliminating violent crime, as persons who are inclined to commit violent acts are not likely to abide by the ‘stay at home’ order.”

The stay-at-home order, issued by Gov. Tom Wolf on March 16, has been extended until at least April 30.

At least one homicide and another shooting occurred in the 12th Police District in Southwest Philadelphia, prompting commanding officer Scott Drissel to take to Twitter and urge people to stay home.

“Two shootings in the 12th District today when people should be home!” he tweeted. “I really can’t comprehend what people don’t understand about this! Watch Netflix/tv/spend time with your loved ones. STAY HOME. Follow the directions of city, state and federal officials! Stop the foolish violence.”

This weekend’s spate of shootings began Friday, when a 33-year-old man was shot in the face and neck while sitting in his vehicle in North Philadelphia.

Three Sunday shootings left two men dead and one critically injured.

Just before 3 p.m., gunshots rang out near 49th and Pentridge streets, striking a 31-year-old man multiple times throughout his body. The victim was transported to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center by police and is currently listed in critical-but-stable condition.

No arrest was made and no weapon was recovered.

Around 4:39 p.m. on Sunday, a 22-year-old man died after he was short four times in the back, once in the torso, and once in the right leg by an unidentified gunman on the 4700 Block of Paschall Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia.

About two hours later, another 22-year-old man was shot multiple times in the chest on the 700 block of Locust Avenue in North Philadelphia. Police transported him to Albert Einstein Medical Center where he was pronounced dead just before 7 p.m.

No arrest was made and no weapon was recovered.

At about 12:50 a.m. Monday, a 41-year-old man was found shot in the head on the westbound Market-Frankford Line train near the stop at Kensington and Allegheny avenues in the Kensington neighborhood. The victim was taken to Temple Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police are reviewing video footage. Police said they believe four men robbed the victim.

Minutes later, a man holed up inside an apartment complex in the 4000 block of Kendrick Street in Northeast Philadelphia exchanged shots with SWAT officers that left the man critically wounded.

Officers were originally called to the location shortly before 1 a.m. to investigate reports of gunfire and a man shot. Investigators have been unable to determine if his injuries were caused in the exchange or by some other means.

Shortly after noon Monday, an unidentified 22-year-old man was shot in the face near the intersection of Boston Street and Park Avenue in North Philadelphia. The victim was transported to Temple Hospital by police and pronounced dead at 12:41 p.m.

John N. Mitchell is a reporter and columnist for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared.