Three people were killed and 11 were injured after multiple shooters opened fire amid the Saturday night crowds on a major street in Philadelphia.
Police were already patrolling South Street — one of the city's busiest areas, full of bars and restaurants — when officers "heard numerous gunshots," Philadelphia Police Department spokesperson D.F. Pace said in a press conference shortly after the incident.
"You can imagine, there were hundreds of individuals just enjoying South Street, as they do every single weekend, when this shooting broke out," Pace said.
In a press conference Sunday afternoon, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said the deceased victims were a 34-year-old man, a 27-year-old woman, and a 22-year-old man, all of whom were Black. The injured victims range in age from 17 to 69.
"We’re absolutely devastated — devastated — by this incident," Outlaw said. "We mourn the lives lost and the dozens and dozens of lives affected by this tragedy."
Outlaw said authorities believe that "one of the three decedents was a male involved in a physical altercation with another male that was potentially the genesis of the shooting."
"These individuals eventually began firing at one another, with both being struck, one fatally," Outlaw said.
They believe the other two killed, as well as the other injured victims, were "innocent bystanders" who "were uninvolved in the initial altercation."
One of the police officers at the scene reported seeing an "unknown male" firing a gun into the crowd, and he shot at the man, possibly striking him. The man then dropped his weapon and ran off, and police lost track of him, Outlaw said.
No arrests have been made yet.
Police said they believe five guns were used in the shooting, two of which they found at the scene. At least one had a high-capacity magazine, Pace said at the earlier press conference.
When shots rang out just before midnight, they sparked panic and chaos on the bustling street. Videos on social media showed crowds running as the shots began.
Joe Smith, 23, who was standing outside a concert venue just feet away from the gunfire, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that his mind immediately went to the recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas.
"Once it started, I didn’t think it was going to stop,” Smith said. “There was guttural screaming. I just heard screams.”
A bartender who was in the area, Eric Walsh, told the outlet he saw a woman collapse to the ground less than a block from the bar.
"People were coming off the street with blood splatters on white sneakers and skinned knees and skinned elbows,” Walsh said. “We literally just were balling up napkins and wetting them and handing them to people...it was chaos.”
John Johnson, who was shot in the foot during the attack, told the local ABC affiliate that he realized he'd been hit when he saw a "giant hole in my New Balance sneakers, and smoke coming out of my foot."
"Some people made it, some people didn't," Johnson said, standing on crutches outside the hospital. "Me personally, I've seen two people die right in front of my face, so I'm still trying to come to terms with that."
The Philadelphia incident wasn't the only mass shooting that left Americans dead this weekend.
In Chattanooga, Tennessee, early Sunday, three people were killed — two from gunshot wounds, one from being hit by a car that was fleeing — after a shooting broke out near a nightclub. Another 14 people were injured, and several are in critical condition, police said.
Police said they believe there were multiple shooters, but no arrests have been made yet.
The Philadelphia and Chattanooga incidents were just two of the many cases of deadly gun violence that have recently occurred across the US.
Just over a week before that, 21 people — 19 children and two teachers — were fatally shot in their elementary school classroom in Uvalde on May 24.
All three suspects in these shootings used AR-style firearms, which they purchased legally.
The American Public Health Association says gun violence in the US is a public health crisis. It is a leading cause of premature death in the country, responsible for more than 38,000 deaths annually. As of June 5, at least 18,580 people have died from gun violence this year, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive.
Correction: A previous version of this article’s headline incorrectly stated the number of people injured.