Philadelphia has had yet another bloody week of gun violence. Over the course of seven days, five people were shot dead. So far this year, there have been 27 homicides; that’s one a day. It’s too early to tell how the year will end, but homicides in the city to this point are up 37 percent, compared with the same period in 2016.
Daily shootings in Philadelphia are not new. In fact, they are routine, which may be the most troubling aspect of all. Gun violence seems to barely register in the city’s collective conscience. The police respond as needed. Elected officials say little or nothing. Media coverage of the mayhem rarely rises above brief mentions inside the newspaper or on local TV news. Most of the public marches on, oblivious.
Perhaps that’s because the shootings occur mostly in poor communities where both shooters and victims are typically young black men. Somehow that has become acceptable. But it is not normal, or right. President Trump referenced the city’s murder rate on Thursday, but has yet to offer any viable solutions.
The issues and answers surrounding gun violence are complex. But turning a blind eye is not an answer, which is why the Inquirer Editorial Board plans to regularly shine a light on gun violence in the city and examine possible solutions. Public awareness is the best place to start, so here’s another snapshot of shootings over a seven-day stretch.
Monday (Jan. 16): Edward Morgan, 28, a bouncer at a bar in East Germantown, allegedly shot bar manager Christopher Johnson, 44, to death. Police said the men got into an argument around 10:49 p.m. in the back room of Sharon’s Little Spot bar. Morgan pulled out a Glock 22 and shot Johnson in the chest and leg, according to police. The two men apparently had a history of “bad blood,” police said.
Tuesday: Tarik Chapman, 38, was found at 6:20 a.m. lying on a street in West Philadelphia with several gunshot wounds. He was taken to Penn Presbyterian Hospital and pronounced dead.
Thursday: A 37-year-old man was shot in the back and left side of his chest around 7 p.m. in North Philadelphia. He was taken by police to Temple University Hospital and listed in critical condition.
Friday: A 31-year-old man was shot in the head and the left side of his abdomen in South Philadelphia. He was found about 1:10 a.m. on the street and taken to Penn Presbyterian Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Saturday: A 29-year-old man was shot in the head in Kensington. He was taken to Temple University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:27 p.m., police said.
Sunday: A man in his early 30s was shot in the face in West Oak Lane. He was found by police officers around 12:37 a.m. and pronounced dead at the scene.
Reports show fatal shooting in the city often occur in plain sight, sometimes in the middle of the day or early evening. Less than 24 hours after the murder inside Sharon’s Little Spot bar, staff writer Stephanie Farr found customers drinking and laughing, while a cat was asleep on the bar.
Another shooting death, but life goes on. In Philadelphia, it is business as usual.
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