Feb. 23 (UPI) — A mother, her 2-year-old child and five teenagers were shot Thursday near a school in the relatively quiet section of Philadelphia’s Strawberry Mansion, authorities said.
Officers responded to the shooting at the intersection of 30th and Norris streets near the James G. Blaine School shortly before 6 p.m., Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said during a press briefing.
The victims were standing at the intersection when the shooting erupted. No suspects have been identified and its cause was under investigation.
“This has been a fairly quiet portion of the 22nd district for quite some time now so at this point we’re piecing everything together to figure out if this is retaliatory, if some of those victims were intended or not,” Outlaw said. “But it’s still really early to tell or figure out why this happened when it did today.”
The victims were not named but were identified by police as a 31-year-old mother and her 2-year-old child, and minors ranging in age from 13 to 17.
Their injuries ranged from severe with one teen in critical condition to a graze wound.
“We don’t believe that all of the victims at this point were the intended target,” Outlaw said.
Police had originally reported six victims but upgraded the casualty count after a seventh victim arrived at a local hospital, authorities said.
Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan said he was “enraged” by the shooting, and remarked that to ensure schools and communities are safe there needs to be “real, systemic change to our commonwealth’s gun laws.”
“Once again, the devastation of gun violence continues to traumatize our communities. It should be unfathomable that outside of one of our schools, as an event was letting out, six people — including a toddler and four teens — were shot,” he said in a statement, before the causality count was upgraded.
“But of course, it is anything but unfathomable. It should horrify us all, but it should shock none of us.”
Though Outlaw said the area where the shooting occurred as been “pretty quiet” for a while now, the city has been confronting a surge in gun violence.
According to the Office of Acting Controller Charles Edacheril, there have been 191 nonfatal and 49 fatal shooting victims so far this year.
It also follows a Temple University police officer being fatally shot earlier this week.
“Yes, it’s been a very, very rough week, but quiet frankly we’ve been seeing a lot of challenges at least over the last three years that I’ve been here unlike anything anybody has seen, not just here in Philadelphia but in the country,” Outlaw said.