Aug 18, 2022 - News

Quintuple shooting at rec center erupts weeks before school opening

Illustration of shattered glass in the shape of a gun.
Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

The Kenney administration delayed its plan to provide updates on its back-to-school safety plans on Wednesday after a quintuple shooting near a West Philly recreation center the previous night.

The latest: Mayor Jim Kenney said he expects the city to reveal an "enhanced program for school safety" within the next two weeks following a news conference with other officials and police about the shooting near the Shepard Recreation Center.

  • City officials were expected to focus on school safety at the biweekly gun violence briefing yesterday, which was canceled due to the shooting.
  • Kenney said police plan to boost their presence around back-to-school events and recreation centers.

Of note: The first day of school is Aug. 29.

The big picture: The shooting was the latest in a violent year where 345 people have been killed as of Wednesday, according to the police department's online database.

  • That's up 2% compared to the same time in 2021.

Details: Police have arrested three suspected gunmen — all 22 years old — over the shooting that erupted around 7pm Tuesday around the 300 block of North 57th Street, officials said.

  • The suspects were driving a white SUV when they opened fire, then attempted to flee but crashed their car, police said.
  • Three additional people are believed to have been in the SUV but fled after the crash, said chief inspector Frank Vanore.

What happened: Around 100 shots were fired as people gathered at the recreation center, including for youth football practice.

  • Five victims ages 17-25 suffered gunshot wounds, police said.
  • Two people were hospitalized and were in extremely critical condition, officials said.

What they're saying: Nicole Walton, who was watching her 8-year-old son practicing football at the recreation center when the shots erupted, said she doubted the city and school district could adequately keep students safe this year.

  • "How do I know it's really going to be safe?" she told Axios. "I don’t even want my kids to go out of the house."

What's next: The city is considering offering up to a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of people who shoot others around a school, recreation center or pool, Kenney said.

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