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Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney both praised the police for their work during the shooting on Aug. 14 and called on legislators in PA to address gun violence. Photo: Michelle Myers/AL DÍA News.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney both praised the police for their work during the shooting on Aug. 14 and called on legislators in PA to address gun violence. Photo: Michelle Myers/AL DÍA News.

Philly and PA officials search for a path forward against gun violence.

In response to the shooting in North Philly on Aug. 14, a press conference was held at City Hall to offer solutions and call others to action against gun…

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On Aug. 15, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney was joined by a host of other Pennsylvania legislators and public officials at City Hall to give an update on the shooting incident on Wednesday in Philadelphia’s Nicetown/Tioga section that left six police officers with gunshot wounds, and offer paths forward in the city and state’s fight against gun violence.

Mayor Kenney led the press conference with praise for all the police officers involved in the operation.

“The peaceful resolution yesterday marks one of the best moments in the history of the Philadelphia Police Department,” he said.

The shooting started on Aug. 14 around 4:30 p.m. when police officers entered a house on the 3700 block of 15th Street, near Erie Avenue, to serve a warrant on narcotics charges. 

The ensuing standoff caught national news attention and lasted until approximately midnight, when the gunman, Maurice Hill, 36, surrendered to police after lengthy negotiations with his attorney, Police Commissioner Richard Ross and Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner.

Hill has a long sheet of run ins with the law dating back to 2001. In 2008, he was convicted of federal firearm violations, which should have kept him from owning any weapons. On Wednesday, he shot at officers with an AR-15.

At an earlier press conference today at noon, District Attorney Larry Krasner said Hill’s record made him a “tremendous danger to the public.”

“I think it’s clear this man should not have been on the streets,” he added.

But Krasner also defended law enforcement for not having a “crystal ball” about everyone in its system. 

“I don’t think it’s fair to expect some level of perfect knowledge from our police and prosecutors,” he said.

For Philadelphia, it marks the seventh mass shooting in the city this year. 

Despite the peaceful resolution in Nicetown, Kenney opened the press conference at 2 p.m. by acknowledging a shooting yesterday that did result in the death of a young man in South Philadelphia. It was unreported by the national media flooding North Philadelphia.

“It happens daily in this city and many others across the nation,” he said.

When coming up with a response, Kenney expressed a desire to aid the circumstances of those faced with gun violence daily, but decried the city’s limitations because of state inaction regarding gun control. 

His message to Harrisburg was simple.

“Step up, or step aside,” said Kenney.

Before the events of Aug. 14, Governor Wolf was set to sign an executive order on Aug. 15 to identify steps for the state to take to reduce gun violence. It looks to attack the issue from all sides and includes everything from expanding oversight and data sharing among different government agencies, to recognizing gun violence as a public health crisis.

Wolf will now sign the order at a press conference on Aug. 16.

However, State Senator Sharif Street had a different message directed at the general assembly in Harrisburg.

“We haven’t done enough,” he said. 

Street cited seven bills introduced at the state level by different members addressing different parts of gun control that have never been voted on in Pennsylvania’s Senate or House. He directed his ire towards the majority caucus in Harrisburg for being “afraid of the NRA.”

“They’ve turned their backs on the Commonwealth,” said Street.

However, Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke struck a different tone regarding political affiliation.

“We’re going to be asking everybody engaged... to put and check their partisan politics at the door,” he said. 

Clarke pinpointed a single unifying issue that all sides can agree on: there are too many weapons in the streets of Philadelphia right now. He continued to place emphasis on targeting the removal of assault-style weapons.

“This is not Afghanistan. This is not Iraq. This is the United States of America,” said Clarke.

 

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