Two police officers in the Philadelphia area were injured in a shooting that took place as tens of thousands of people celebrated the Fourth of July by gathering for fireworks and live music, authorities said.
The police have confirmed that NBC Philadelphia that two officers were stabilized in a hospital after being struck by gunfire near crowds gathered at and near the city’s famous Museum of Art.
At a late-night press conference, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said both have been treated and released. One was described as a traffic officer for the city service; the other was a member of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Bomb and Hazardous Device Disposal Unit assigned to the Philadelphia Department.
Both were working in security during the festivities, she said, and had not heard gunshots when they were hit, the commissioner said. One man is 36 years old and the other 44.
It’s not clear why a pandemonium ensued if gunshots were not heard, although NBC Philadelphia did indicate that police drove crowds away from the concert stage.
The cause of the gunfire was still a mystery, Outlaw said, noting that the possibilities include everything from someone taking a shot from afar to bouncing off celebratory gunfire.
One of the officers suffered a cut to his head, the other a gunshot to his right shoulder, the Philadelphia station reported. It broadcast a photo of a bullet in an officer’s cap with a memorial card for a deceased police chaplain.
The gunfire was reported in the area of the Fairmount Street-Art Museum as people were in the area for multiple events, including the last day of the 2022 free weekend. Wawa Welcome America Concert with Jason Derulo.
The music had ended and the fireworks had begun when the gunfire occurred shortly before 10 p.m., reported NBC Philadelphia, which had a reporter amid the chaos near the Benjamin Franklin Parkway stage.
Witnesses said the situation led to a pandemonium as onlookers flocked from the area. The station reported that a SWAT team in a high-rise residential building near the museum responded to a person with a gun who ultimately had nothing to do with the violence.
It didn’t look like anyone was being arrested.
No civilian casualties were reported. A child may have gone missing in the confusion, the station reported.
Mayor Jim Kenney said during the press conference that he had had enough of gun violence that he no longer wanted to be mayor. He said high-profile events in his city are no longer cause for celebration, but rather a harbinger of heartache.
“I don’t enjoy the Fourth of July,” he said.
Alex Dzomba, 28, was celebrating at a friend’s flat a few blocks away when she saw the tidal wave of humanity pouring in from the concert venue next to Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Possibly because fireworks also went off, Dzomba said, she heard no gunshots.
“All I saw were people screaming and running,” she said.
Police urged people to stay away from the Fairmount-Art Museum area. A reunion venue was set up at the Free Library of Philadelphia, Police said.
After two pandemic years of mainly staying on holiday with roots in the cityPhiladelphians were looking forward to celebrating the 4th of July outdoors.
In a Chicago suburb on Monday, a suspect opened fire from a rooftop, killing six and injuring 38 others who were spectators taking part in a July 4 parade in the city of Highland Park, authorities said.
Kurt Chirbas and Sarah Kaufman contributed†