Philadelphians on edge after mass shooting on South Street

South Street shooting
Philadelphia Police investigators work the scene of a fatal overnight shooting on South Street in Philadelphia, Sunday, June 5, 2022.
AP Photo/Michael Perez

Three people were killed and 11 others were wounded during a chaotic exchange of gunfire Saturday night on South Street in Queen Village.

Police believe the melee began with a physical altercation at around 11:30 p.m. on South between 4th and 5th streets — and as many as six people, including a police officer, opened fire.

The complex timeline appears to have begun with a two-on-one fight, in which one of the men was later fatally shot and another was hospitalized in critical condition.

Hundreds of people were gathered in the area, which is packed with bars, music venues and other establishments, at the time of the shooting. Police said patrols were already beefed up Saturday.

Blood is seen at the scene of a fatal overnight shooting on South Street in Philadelphia, Sunday, June 5, 2022. AP Photo/Michael Perez

Officers nearby heard gunshots and, while heading toward the scene, came across several gunshot victims, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw told reporters at a news briefing Sunday afternoon.

PPD officials said one of the officers fired several shots at a gunman on American Street who was allegedly shooting into a large crowd from more than half a block away.

Authorities believe the man, who dropped his gun and ran away, was hit, but he was not apprehended at the scene and is still on the loose. His handgun was equipped with a high-capacity magazine, investigators said.

In addition to the casings from the officer’s gun, detectives recovered ballistic evidence from five other firearms.

Two of the three people who died, as well as most of those who were struck by gunfire, were described by police as “innocent bystanders,” not involved in the fight.

Someone left flowers and a note Sunday for victims of the previous night’s mass shooting on South Street.Jack Tomczuk

Police identified two of the victims Sunday evening as 34-year-old Gregory Jackson and 27-year-old Alexis Quinn.

The third victim, 22-year-old Kris Minners, worked as a second-grade adviser for resident students at North Philadelphia’s Girard College, according to a statement released by his union, the American Federation of Teachers.

Ages for the other shooting victims ranged from 17 to 69, with five of the 11 wounded being 17 or 18 years old, according to authorities.

No one had been arrested as of Sunday evening.

“There were hundreds, hundreds of individuals out there last night,” Outlaw said. “And I’m asking the public that if any of these people, anyone who was out there saw anything, witnessed anything immediately before, during or after, to please call or text our tip line at 215-686-8477.”

Two other shootings occurred within a short span of time near the South Street scene, and detectives were unsure Sunday of whether the three incidents were connected.

At around 11 p.m., shots were heard near 4th and Bainbridge streets, but no one was hit, investigators said.

A 20-year-old man was shot in the leg on the 500 block of S. Broad Street just over an hour after the mass shooting. He later died of his injuries at Jefferson University Hospital.

Elected leaders — at the local and national level — were quick to connect the South Street shooting to mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas, as well as to the city’s ongoing gun violence crisis.

A Philadelphia Fireman washes blood off the sidewalk at the scene of a fatal overnight shooting on South Street in Philadelphia, Sunday, June 5, 2022.AP Photo/Michael Perez

“What happened last night was an atrocity, but it’s not something that we see all the time,” Outlaw said. “I don’t want us to normalize this. This is not something that’s normal in the city of Philadelphia, and I don’t want anyone to begin to think that it is.”

On Sunday morning, less than 12 hours after the shooting, South Street was wet, but not from rain. After firefighters cleaned blood off the street, crews were sweeping the roadway.

Television crews from CNN and other outlets were in the neighborhood, and people stopped to gawk at apparent bullet holes in the window of a vacant storefront.

Otherwise, much was normal, with people walking their dogs and carrying fresh flowers from the Headhouse Square farmers’ market.

Lisa Chilinskas, who lives on American Street near South and works in the restaurant industry, was riding an Indego bike home Saturday night when she heard about the shooting.

“I’m just glad my son was home,” Chilinkskas said, explaining that her 17-year-old had been out with friends earlier in the day.

One woman, who declined to provide her name, discussed a May 2021 homicide that occurred outside a hookah bar near her house at 2nd and Bainbridge.

“This is getting ridiculous,” she said. “This is what’s occurring in a million-dollar neighborhood.”

City Councilmember Mark Squilla, whose district includes the eastern section of South Street, called for the popular avenue to be closed until leaders can meet to develop a safety plan going forward.

“Our own policies are allowing this illegal behavior to be accepted,” he said in a statement. “We are in a state of emergency and cannot wait another day to act.”

The South Street Headhouse District, a business group, said in a statement that the violence does not reflect the community, adding that “this epidemic is much larger than us.”

PPD leaders said enhanced security measures, including more officers, would be coming to South Street beginning Sunday night.