‘It has just been a night of absolute horror and terror,’ reporter on scene says
Videos from a Philadelphia shooting shows terrified Americans running for their lives in what’s being described as a “dystopian” nightmare.
Two police officers were shot and wounded on Monday night near the Philadelphia Museum of Art at around 9.47pm.
The shooting occurred during the end of the 16-day “Wawa Welcome to America” festival hosted on 4 July on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said that “both officers were released after being treated at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. They suffered non-life-threatening injuries”.
One of the officers was shot in the right shoulder while the other officer’s head was grazed by a bullet, Philadelphia Police Department Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said after midnight on Tuesday, according to NBC10 Philadelphia.
“It is miraculous the fact that the round stopped in his hat,” Commissioner Outlaw said of the 36-year-old highway patrol officer. The commissioner added that the other officer is a 44-year-old Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputy.
Both of the officers were on the festival’s security team.
The shooter hasn’t been identified or detained. Commissioner Outlaw said it remains unclear if the officers were targets or if they were hit by “celebratory gunfire”.
“The good news is that both officers have since been treated and released, and what really could have been a chaotic scene or a catastrophic scene wasn’t today,” she said.
“I didn’t hear the shots, but the cops were like, ‘run, run, run,’” a woman told NBC10.
The shooting prompted a “stampede” of concertgoers to run toward the stage, according to NBC10 reporter Leah Uko. She said she helped three people get onto the stage and hide behind a DJ podium. Ms Uko said a man who spoke to the show director told them to remain there until it was safe to “rush back” to their cars.
Reporter Tim Furlong said he witnessed a “wave of people” running from the area.
Reporter Karen Hua tweeted: “This is our reality. Laying in the dirt in a tent. We made a fort around us with catering equipment. Everyone is crying or screaming.”
“It has just been a night of absolute horror and terror,” Ms Hua said, according to NBC10.
Mr Kenney, a Democrat, blasted US gun regulations, blaming Pennsylvania’s state legislature, which is controlled by Republicans. He also criticised the US Congress and gun culture as a whole.
“We live in America, and we have the Second Amendment, and we have the Supreme Court of the United States telling everybody they can carry a gun wherever they want,” Mr Kenney told reporters.
“We are the most armed country in world history and we’re one of the least safest. So, until Americans decide that they want to give up the guns and give up the opportunity to get guns, we’re going to have this problem,” he said.
“I’ll be happy when I’m not … mayor,” he added.
The shooting took place the same day as six people were killed and at least two dozen others were injured in Highland Park, Illinois, at a shooting at a 4 July parade.
Twitter users said the US is stuck in a “dystopian” nightmare of gun violence.
“America is a horror movie,” one Twitter user wrote. “We cannot even have fun without being shot at here in America.”
“These mass murders happen every day in America, whether or not you’re looking. They didn’t happen as frequently during the pandemic because people avoided gathering together in public. Open your eyes,” another account holder said.
“This is the most American thing I can think of,” one Twitter user said, with another adding: “This is some dystopian sh** right here.”
Georgetown political scientist Donald Moynihan wrote: “Think of all the resources we poured into the Global War on Terror and how little (mostly Republican) policymakers are doing in response to daily mass shootings by domestic terrorists.”
Broadcaster Keith Olbermann called on President Joe Biden to “Call this madness what it is. Declare a National Emergency and begin the perilous process of getting weapons of war out of the hands of civilians. We are under attack by 2nd Amendment Terrorists. DEFEND. THIS. NATION.”
“Love living in a country where I haven’t attended a mass public event since Obama’s inauguration because I’m scared of this and it’s not even a little crazy to be scared of this. Because it happens everywhere, every day,” Lauren Hough tweeted. “A constitution that demands we live and die like this is a f***ing garbage contract.”