Pa. Sen. Street hopes shooting at his office forces urgency on gun violence prevention efforts

‘I’m hoping that something is actually done because the stuff is happening to us,’ Street said

By: - December 15, 2021 9:55 am

State Sen. Sharif Street, D-Philadelphia, was one of several Black Muslim leaders who spoke during an online town hall on 2/28/21 (Philadelphia Tribune screen capture)

By Brian Saunders

PHILADELPHIA — The office of Sen. Sharif Street in the Nicetown section of the city was hit with multiple bullets piercing through the walls Monday night.

Blood was found in front of the office building, shared with the NAACP, which was also hit by bullets. Police in the 39th District responded to a shooting at 4400 block of Germantown Ave. at 11:30 p.m. Several shell casings were found at the 2100 block of Windrim Ave.

According to police, a gun was found in a nearby dumpster on the 2000 block of Wingohocking street.

Police arrived at Temple Hospital, where a 25-year-old man suffered from several gunshot wounds to both legs, three to the right thigh and one to his left thigh. He is currently listed in critical condition.

According to Street, the bullets that hit his office were from a high-powered firearm and left damage in a steel file cabinet in the area where his receptionist sits. Street said that at least half of his staff has seen someone in their family lost to gun violence and the thought of his receptionist being in the line of fire where the shooting happened while she was at work is troubling.

Street’s nephew Salahaldin Mahmoud was killed at a 4th of July cookout this year in West Philadelphia.

Street said he hopes that seeing how close to home a shooting hits for an elected official will wake legislators up and start working on substantive policies to stop the gun violence ravaging Philadelphia.

“I can say that my staff and I are not immune from the problem of violence. But this was another reminder of what’s going on because we represent the epicenter of what’s going on,” Street said. “So I’m hoping that something is actually done because the stuff is happening to us, and it’s obviously got the attention of my fellow legislators about gun violence that we start to address some of the underlying root causes.

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According to Street, more funding, especially for programs and athletics geared towards children, teens, and young adults, are key factors that will help stop gun violence. Kids missed instruction from coaches during COVID-19. There were not any mentors in the ears of kids telling them it’s better ways to handle things besides violence, Street said.

“We lost mentorship programs, little league sports programs, all of which had an impact on people… A crisis Intervention worker could prevent someone from going out in a moment of anger and desperation and killing somebody,” Street said. “So we got to restore the kind of programs for us people.”

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Street said he supports getting guns off the streets, but it’s a tough ask with Republicans to get stricter gun laws.

“There are there’s a lot of things we can and should be doing that addresses the root causes of why people want to kill each other, to begin with,” Street said. “And I think that there’s no reason we can’t spend money to address those programs.”

He is currently asking for $1 billion to be allocated across Pennsylvania in $333 million installments to help amplify grassroots programs and organizations’ work for gun violence prevention.

Brian Saunders is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared

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