7 injured in Philadelphia bus shooting, 4th gunfire incident in as many days

Police respond to a deadly shooting on a SEPTA bus in South Philadelphia on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. A passenger shot aboard the bus has died from his wounds, marking the third time in three days that someone was killed while riding, entering or leaving a SEPTA bus. (Heather Khalifa/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

Police respond to a deadly shooting on a SEPTA bus in South Philadelphia on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. A passenger shot aboard the bus has died from his wounds, marking the third time in three days that someone was killed while riding, entering or leaving a SEPTA bus. (Heather Khalifa/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Seven bystanders were injured Wednesday in a shooting involving a Philadelphia city bus, authorities said, the fourth gunfire incident on the transit system in as many days.

The latest shooting took place in the afternoon in a northeastern neighborhood, said John Golden, a spokesperson for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, or SEPTA.

The injured were people on the street, Golden said, and they were taken to Einstein Medical Center and Jefferson Torresdale Hospital. The bus was hit by gunfire, but there were no reports of injuries to passengers of the driver.

Police spokesperson Officer Tanya Little said numerous 911 calls were received just before 3 p.m. and upon arrival, police found seven people with gunshot wounds.

Hospital nursing supervisors either declined to comment on the conditions of the patients they received, or did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Monique Braxton, deputy chief of communications for the Philadelphia school district, said the shooting occurred near two schools, Northeast High School and Crossan Elementary, but she didn’t know whether any students were victims.

The elementary school was dismissing students at the time but pulled them back inside and locked down, she added. It was later given the all-clear from police.

Wednesday’s shooting came a day after a passenger on another bus was shot, marking the third time in three days that someone was killed while riding, entering or leaving a SEPTA bus.

That shooting occurred around 6:35 p.m. Tuesday, when police said a verbal argument and then a physical fight began. One of the two passengers exited, turned and fired two shots from a 9 mm handgun, hitting a man later identified as 37-year-old Carmelo Drayton. He died shortly afterward at a hospital.

The shooter, who officials said was wearing one of the kinds of masks not allowed on the transit system, fled. Authorities were investigating possible motive, and no other injuries were reported.

SEPTA’s chief of transit police, Charles Lawson, said the shots were fired at the victim while the driver was “immediately behind.”

On Monday, a 17-year-old student was killed and four other people were wounded when gunfire erupted at a bus stop. The victims included two women who were riding on a bus.

And on Sunday, around 11:30 p.m., a 27-year-old man was killed by another passenger moments after they both got off a bus. Witnesses said the two had argued, but a motive remains under investigation.

No arrests have been made in any of the shootings, said Frank Vanore, deputy commissioner of the Philadelphia police department.

While serious crime overall is down along the transportation system, Lawson said, a pattern that has emerged over the past year and a half is people carrying weapons, usually illegally, getting into an argument and then opening fire. As a result, he vowed that officials would enforce crime aggressively and unapologetically, and use “every legal means at our disposal to target illegal gun possession.”

“We’re going to target individuals concealing their identity. We’re going to target fare evasion. We’re going to target open drug use,” Lawson said. “We’re going to target every criminal code on the books, and when the law provides for our officers the ability to protect themselves through frisks, through learning if individuals are armed, we’re going to do that, in every case.”

Lawson added that the number of people monitoring the system via cameras was being increased. Officials were also looking into ways to allow employees to report potential problems discreetly so as not to endanger their safety, and riders are encouraged to do the same.

“I understand the fear. … What I hope they get is the fact that we’re committed,” Lawson said. “I have over 230 sworn officers absolutely committed to this fight, and they’re as frustrated and as angry as I am – and they’re engaged.”

AP U.S. News

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