At least 3 shot at West Philadelphia Eid celebration

west philadelphia eid shot
An overturned trash can is seen Wednesday, April 10, at Clara Muhammad Square in West Philadelphia following a shooting.

At least three people were shot when gunfire disrupted a crowded Eid al-Fitr celebration Wednesday afternoon in West Philadelphia, authorities said.

The shooting happened at around 2:30 p.m. as about a thousand people were gathered at Clara Muhammad Square, located along Lancaster Avenue in the Mill Creek neighborhood, according to police.

Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel said officers assigned to the event heard an estimated 30 gunshots, and investigators believe two factions engaged in a shootout.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel speaks during a news conference in Philadelphia, Monday, March 11, 2024.AP Photo/Matt Rourke

In the immediate aftermath, one of the officers at the park shot a 15-year-old boy in his shoulder and leg after she observed him with a gun, Bethel told reporters at the scene. He is expected to face charges.

A 22-year-old man was shot in his stomach, and a third victim – a juvenile whose age was not provided – showed up to a local hospital with gunshot wounds to his hands, authorities said.

Police investigate a shooting during an Eid celebration Wednesday, April 10, at Clara Muhammad Square in West Philadelphia.JACK TOMCZUK

Police arrested four people – three of whom were under the age of 18 – as they were trying to leave the square following the shooting, Bethel said. Four guns were recovered from the group, according to investigators.

A PPD patrol vehicle responding to the incident also struck a young girl, leaving her with a broken leg, Bethel said.

The commissioner credited officers and community members who grabbed children and ushered them to safety for helping to prevent an even worse tragedy.

“It’s going to sound odd, but I’m going to tell you that we’re very, very fortunate today that we did not have more individuals shot and anyone killed,” Bethel said.

Police and city officials respond to a shooting Wednesday, April 10, at Clara Muhammad Square in West Philadelphia.JACK TOMCZUK

The Philadelphia Masjid, housed in the Clara Muhammad School, faces the square – named for the wife of Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad – and hosts a large annual celebration for Eid, which marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“I started my day celebrating Eid with families at the Philadelphia Masjid,” said City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier, who represents the area, in a statement. “Never did I imagine that only a few hours later, I would be rushing back to the scene, this time to comfort victims of a mass shooting.”

Garbage bins, presumably knocked over in the pandemonium, remained overturned in hours after the shooting and remnants from the festival were strewn around the park.

Shown are personal items left behind at the scene of a shooting at an Eid al-Fitr event in Philadelphia, Wednesday, April 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

“It’s a park that is used a lot by Muslims as well as by the community members who live around here,” said Quaiser D. Abdullah, an imam at a nearby masjid and Mayor Cherelle Parker’s director of Muslim engagement. He and Parker arrived at the square shortly after the shooting.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the PPD at 215-686-TIPS (8477).