COUNCILMEMBER KENYATTA JOHNSON STATEMENT ON THE SHOOTING DURING THE WELCOME AMERICA FIREWORKS CELEBRATION

In Council News, Kenyatta Johnson, News by PHL Council

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Philadelphia, Pa (July 5, 2022): Philadelphia City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson (2nd District), chair of the City Council Special Committee on Gun Violence Prevention, issued the following statement today:
“A fantastic Fourth of July celebration along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway featuring fun and fireworks was marred by the thoughtless actions of a person(s) shooting in the area of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which resulted in the injury of two law enforcement officers.
“One officer, assigned to Montgomery County (Pa.) Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad, was hit in the shoulder, and the other, a Philadelphia Highway Patrol officer, suffered a graze wound to the head.  A bullet was found lodged in the police cap of the Highway Patrol Officer.  The officers were the only persons hit by gunfire.  My thoughts and prayers are with those officers and we hope for their speedy recovery
“The photographs and TV images of tens of thousands of people in the crowd running away from the Parkway for their own safety, leaving things like shoes, purses, and baby strollers behind was heartbreaking.   Large celebrations in Philadelphia like the Welcome America Festival have been generally peaceful for years and  we should continue to hold outs door events and live our lives.
“As the Chairman of Philadelphia City Council’s Special Committee for Gun Violence Prevention, I have taken a leading role, working with Council’s leadership team, to invest increased City funding in helping reduce gun violence in Philadelphia. We remain in a full-on crisis when it comes to gun violence in Philadelphia. Gun violence is widespread and relentless.
“Philadelphia must work on immediate short-term solutions as well as long-term solutions to deal with gun violence. It is important to note that Philadelphia did not reach this level of gun violence overnight and the problems facing our city will take time to see a dramatic reduction in the number of shootings.
“The City of Philadelphia must work in a collaborative effort with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; FBI; Pennsylvania Attorneys General’s Office; Pennsylvania State Police; the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, and the Philadelphia Police Department to get a better idea of where all of these illegal guns flooding the streets of Philadelphia are coming from and come up with effective ways to crack down on the illegal guns.
“We have way too many guns flooding the streets of Philadelphia. We need to make sure that individuals who pick up guns to shoot and murder and wreak havoc in our city are arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
“We must also build a better partnership between law enforcement and the citizens of Philadelphia to make citizens feel comfortable enough to provide important information to help solve crimes.  If the public has any information that can lead to the arrest and conviction of any shooting or homicide in Philadelphia, please contact the Police Department Tip Line at 215-686-TIPS.

“I am confident that if everyone in Philadelphia—elected officials, law enforcement, the court system, the District Attorney’s office and Philadelphians— works together and does everything within our power to stop the devastation of lives on our streets, our homicide and shooting rates will go down. Enough is enough.”

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