Surge in deadly gun violence pushes Philadelphia leaders to delve deeper into causes

By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The number of people killed this year in Philadelphia is quickly approaching 300. In the last week, 28 people were killed. On Thursday alone, five people were shot dead.

One of those victims was 29-year-old Will Myatt, in West Philadelphia. He was walking his dog near 46th Street and Fairmount Avenue with his 3-year-old and 9-year-old children when a man came up to them and shot him several times in the chest. 

A 40-year-old woman, Melanie Raye, was killed just before 8 p.m. in the city’s Brewerytown neighborhood, shot several times throughout her body. A 35-year-old man who was with her was also fired upon and remains in critical condition.

The number of homicides in Philadelphia in the first eight months of 2020 — 286 — is higher than the number of homicides in a full year for 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. 

#Philly’s number was of homicides victims in less than 9 months is more than the TOTAL number of victims for a full year in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016. Law enforcement sources have projected, at this pace, we could see 450 by the end of the year. ⁦⁦

— Kristen Johanson (@KristenJohanson) August 21, 2020

Law enforcement sources have projected that, at the current pace, the city could see 450 deaths by the end of this year.

City Council held Zoom hearings on gun violence two weeks ago, after the death of 7-year-old Zamar Jones. They are asking for more data from law enforcement, including a study from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives about where the guns are coming from and tracking those accused of a gun crime from arrest to prosecution. 

Another City Council hearing with law enforcement leaders is scheduled for Sept. 3.