One man died and five others were wounded when gunmen opened fire at a Philadelphia “pop-up” party attended by at least 150 people Saturday morning, police said.
The shooting in a residential area of the Nicetown neighborhood began inside a restaurant with an event space and then carried on into the street, with bullet casings spanning several blocks, Philadelphia Police Department Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said.
“There were at least 150 people in there that fled and believed they had to flee for their lives, so that’s a pretty big deal,” she said.
Police started getting calls about the gunfire on the 4200 block of Germantown Avenue around 3:45 a.m. and when officers arrived, they found five of the victims, including a man who was shot throughout his body and once in his head, Outlaw said. The man was taken by police to the hospital, where he was declared dead. After initially giving another age, police later said he was 29 years old.
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The five others, one of whom had already been taken to a hospital when police arrived, are expected to survive, the commissioner said. The victims are between 29 and 41 years old and included four men and two women, PPD spokeswoman Tanya Little said.
Outlaw said the shooting took place at an illegal “pop-up” party happening in the event space of a restaurant that had already been cited by police multiple times. She said police have shut down the event space in the past, but the restaurant has remained open, and now the PPD will be in touch with city leadership about possible further sanctions.
The fact that it happened in a residential neighborhood was “concerning,” she added.
More of these illegal “pop-up” parties have started cropping up despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and restrictions on large gatherings, as more people want to get out, Outlaw said.
Of concern is also the fact that the city is experiencing more and more shootings.
In the week ending March 14, there were 695 shootings across Philadelphia, according to PPD data. As of March 19, the city had already seen 106 homicides, not including the victim in the Nicetown shooting.
“We thought that the shootings or the violence would slow down at some point because of the weather and, quite frankly, I think we’ve seen that it has not, it did not,” Outlaw said.
She said she is concerned that as temperatures get warmer and eventually lead into the summer, more people will be shot. Key to stemming the tide will be partnerships with community stakeholders, as well as more police patrols – both in cruisers and on foot – in high-crime areas, Outlaw said.
City leaders, including Outlaw and Mayor Jim Kenney, have also begun holding weekly press conferences devoted to stemming the gun violence.
There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect the accurate ages of the victims after police initially gave other ages.