“I didn’t hear the shots, but the cops were like, ‘Run, run, run,’” one woman told NBC10. The police union, which is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest, released a photo that showed a bullet lodged in the cap of a police officer.
Crowds dispersed from the scene after two police officers were shot close to Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Monday night as thousands enjoyed a Fourth of July concert and fireworks show.
Just after midnight on Tuesday, Philadelphia Police Department Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said that two officers had been injured, one with a gunshot wound to the right shoulder and the other with a graze cut to the head. She added that after receiving treatment at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, both were discharged.
A gunshot was visible in an officer’s cap in a photo John McNesby, head of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 5 union, sent to NBC10. A memorial card for a recently deceased Philadelphia police chaplain was found inside the cap.
“It is miraculous the fact that the round stopped in his hat,” Outlaw said.
According to the commissioner, the 44-year-old Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputy and the 36-year-old PPD highway patrol officer who was grazed in the head are both officers. She said that both were a part of the festival’s security team.
The shooter wasn’t immediately caught or recognized. According to Outlaw, it’s unclear whether the officers were intentionally shot at or if they were accidentally hit by “celebratory gunfire” during the Fourth of July festivities.
“The good news is that both officers have since been treated and released, and what really could have been a chaotic scene or a catastrophic scene wasn’t today,” she said.
Following a Jason Derulo-headlined concert on the parkway, a shooting erupted nearby the Philadelphia Museum of Art at roughly 9:47 p.m., according to police, as huge crowds watched a fireworks display during the 16-day Wawa Welcome America festival.
According to Outlaw, the cops were injured by the bullets as they monitored the 2500 block of Spring Garden Street, which is behind the venue. Several people were observed escaping the area. People in nearby buildings were told to take shelter by police.
“I didn’t hear the shots, but the cops were like, ‘Run, run, run,’” one woman told NBC10.
NBC10 had various reporters in the area covering the festival.
Leah Uko, a reporter for NBC10, described a “stampede” of people advancing on the stage. An NBC10 cameraman caught the moment people, including several clearly distraught children, started screaming and dispersing as Uko was interviewing a group of teens.
Three people, she claimed, took safety behind a DJ stand after she helped them in getting there. The show’s director then gave them the go-ahead to remain there until it was secure enough for them to “push back,” according to Uko.
Tim Furlong of NBC10 reported seeing a “wave of people” running down the parkway from close to Eakins Oval. According to Furlong, there were times when the audience and the responding police officers were confused and some kids were crying during those times.
Fellow reporter Karen Hua reported laying in the dirt inside a tent with other people.
“We made a fort around us with catering equipment. Everyone is crying or screaming,” Hua tweeted. “It has just been a night of absolute horror and terror,” Hua said later.
Jim Kenney, the mayor, lamented how simple it was for people to obtain guns. He placed the blame on the U.S. Congress, which had only recently been able to pass some moderate gun control laws in response to a wave of mass shootings across the nation, as well as the Republican-controlled state legislature, which prevents Philadelphia from enacting stricter gun control regulations.
He also questioned the American gun culture.
“We are the most armed country in world history and we’re one of the least safest. So, until Americans decide that they want to give up the guns and give up the opportunity to get guns, we’re going to have this problem,” he said.
The incident happened on the same day when a gunman opened fire on a Fourth of July parade in the Highland Park neighborhood of Chicago, killing six people and wounding dozens more before being captured.
The Free Library of Philadelphia is located at 1901 Vine Street, and the Philadelphia Police Department advised people wanting to reconcile with loved ones to gather there. Any other person was asked to leave at 1 A.M. when the center closed.
Around 11 p.m., police officers were observed searching an area from close to 19th Street and the parkway up to Eakins Oval with flashlights; the search was not immediately successful.
The Park Towne Place Apartments, which are close to the parkway, received a number of people looking for shelter. When there was police activity “on-site, around the community,” they advised the people to “stay calm.” The company stated in an email that all of the complex’s towers were on lockdown “until we get additional information available.
Later, residents were permitted to re-enter. Police at the property told a producer for NBC10 that their investigation there ultimately had nothing to do with the incident.
Tuesday morning, the Ben Franklin Parkway was still closed as cleanup workers tried to remove the debris.