Chaos and violence

Mass shootings claim lives at gatherings over July Fourth holiday

Associated Press | 7/6/2023, 6 p.m.
Mass shootings broke out at festivals, block parties and other gatherings in a handful of cities this week as the ...
Gov. Wes Moore speaks to the media during a visit to the Brooklyn Homes Community Center in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Baltimore to meet residents following a mass shooting several days earlier that killed two people and injured multiple others. Gov. Moore was joined by, from left, Sen. Ben Cardin, Comptroller Brooke Lierman, First Lady Dawn Moore, Delegate Luke Clippinger, Senate President Bill Ferguson, Mayor Brandon Scott and other officials. Photo by Associated Press

Mass shootings broke out at festivals, block parties and other gatherings in a handful of cities this week as the U.S. celebrated the Fourth of July.

Gun violence that flared in Washington, D.C, Louisiana, Florida, Philadelphia, Texas and Baltimore left more than a dozen dead and almost 60 wounded — including children as young as 2 years old.

In Shreveport, La., at least three people were killed and 10 others wounded late Tuesday night, shreveport Police Sgt. Angie Willhite said. One of the injured was in critical condition Wednesday but the others were expected to survive, she said.

No arrests have been made.

“We are struggling with getting information from those who were present. We’re not getting a lot of cooperation,” Sgt. Willhite said.

Another body was found in the area Wednesday morning, Police Chief Wayne Smith said at a news conference.

“Chances are likely that it is a result of what occurred here last night,” Chief Smith said.

The block party where the shooting took place has been held around the July Fourth holiday for at least 10 years, said Shreveport City Councilwoman Tabatha Taylor, who represents the neighborhood.

Independence Day celebrations in the nation’s capital also turned violent when nine people outside enjoying the festivities were shot and wounded early Wednesday, police said.

Officers who responded about 1 a.m. to the mass shooting in a neighborhood about a 20-minute drive east of the White House found a 9-year-old and a 17-year-old among the victims, Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Chief Leslie Parsons said. The victims, who were not publicly identified, were hospitalized with injuries that weren’t considered life-threatening, police said.

The gunshots were fired from a dark SUV seen driving through the neighborhood, Assistant Chief Parsons said, calling the shooting targeted. It was unclear if there was more than one shooter in the vehicle, and no arrests had been made, police said.

In Florida, gunfire erupted after an altercation between two groups gathered for July Fourth celebrations along a causeway that crosses Tampa Bay, killing a 7-year-old, police said.

Investigators said the boy was sitting in a truck with his grandfather Tuesday when a bullet was fired into the vehicle,

hitting the older man in his hand and the boy in the head. Tampa Police Department Deputy Chief Calvin Johnson said Wednesday that no arrests had been made but investigators don’t believe the boy and grandfather were targeted.

The shooting stemmed from an argument over Jet Skis that one group said were coming too close to children playing in the water.

“There was no reason — no excuse that an argument can lead to gunfire, much less an argument over Jet Skis,” Deputy Chief Johnson said at a news conference. “Now we got citizens’ families, folks in our communities, that have to deal with this tragic incident that happened on the Fourth of July.”

Even before the holiday, city streets turned deadly in other communities.

On Monday night, a shooter in a bulletproof vest opened fire on the streets of Philadelphia, killing five people and wounding two boys, ages 2 and 13, before surrendering, police said.

Three people were killed and eight others were injured when several men fired indiscriminately into a crowd of hundreds that had gathered in a Texas neighborhood after a festival in the area, authorities said. The shooting in the Fort Worth neighborhood of Como happened late Monday night, about two hours after the annual ComoFest ended.

Thirty people were shot, two fatally, at a block party in Baltimore early Sunday. Many of those shooting victims were children, authorities said.

And yesterday in Wichita, Kan., a 4-year-old Kansas girl has been hospitalized after she was shot in the arm while watching fireworks, and police suspect the bullet may have been fired into the air in celebration of the Fourth of July.

Wichita Police said the shooting happened Tuesday night. The child was in serious condition, but her injuries are not life- threatening, police said Wednesday.

The girl was watching fireworks and playing with neighbors when she was struck. Police said the injury “appears to be from a stray bullet strike,” and urged people not to shoot into the air.