Crime & Justice

Mass shootings mar lead-up to US’ July 4 holiday

Washington, Jul 4 (EFE).- At least 10 people died in mass shootings in Texas, Maryland and Pennsylvania ahead of the United States’ Independence Day holiday, prompting a new call from the White House for urgent legislative action to stop the bloodshed.

Police in Philadelphia said Tuesday that a male suspect was arrested the night before after firing indiscriminately at several people in the Kingsessing neighborhood of Pennsylvania’s largest city.

Five people died in that incident and two children aged two and 13 were wounded. The suspect was wearing a bulletproof vest and had several ammunition clips, an AR-15 assault rifle and a handgun, authorities said.

In another mass shooting Monday night in Fort Worth, Texas, at least three people were killed and eight others were wounded (including a minor) in a packed parking lot, that city’s police department said.

No arrests have yet been made and the motive remains unknown. That incident occurred as Como, a historically African-American neighborhood, was celebrating its annual Fourth of July party.

On Sunday, a shooting at a block party in Baltimore, Maryland, left two dead and 28 others wounded.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit initiative that tracks armed violence in the US, a mass shooting is one in which four or more people are shot or killed in a single incident, not including the shooter.

By that definition, 346 mass shootings have occurred thus far in 2023.

Besides the incidents in Philadelphia, Fort Worth and Baltimore, two other mass shootings also took place in recent hours in the US – one in Lansing, Michigan, that left five wounded at a party and another at a home in Charlotte, North Carolina, that left four wounded.

Fourth of July celebrations are being held across the country on Tuesday, a day that typically is a particularly violent one in the US.

According to a study conducted by Professor James Alan Fox at Boston’s Northeastern University and based on Gun Violence Archive’s figures, five mass shootings have occurred on average on July 4 over the past decade, more than any other day of the year.

Last year, a man armed with a semi-automatic rifle opened fire at an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois, killing seven people and wounding nearly 50 others.

This year, that suburban city located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of downtown Chicago decided to cancel its traditional Fourth of July parade and instead hold a remembrance ceremony and a community walk in honor of the victims.

In a statement Tuesday, US President Joe Biden referred to that deadly incident and recalled that in its wake Illinois instituted a statewide ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

“It is within our power to once again ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines (nationwide), to require safe storage of guns, to end gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability and to enact universal background checks,” he said.

“I urge other states to follow Illinois’ lead, and continue to call upon Republican lawmakers in Congress to come to the table on meaningful, commonsense reforms that the American people support.”

Biden also referred to Sunday’s mass shooting in Baltimore.

Police in that city are continuing to search for the culprits, and the FBI and other law enforcement agencies are offering rewards totaling $28,000 for information that leads to an arrest and charges.

During a press conference on Monday, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott expressed concern that more violence may erupt during the July 4 holiday and announced a special police deployment to certain areas of the city in a bid to keep communities safe. EFE


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