The Democratic mayor of Philadelphia blasted the "availability and ease of access to firearms" Sunday hours after gunfire that erupted in a busy entertainment district left three dead and 11 others wounded.
At the time Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney issued his statement just past 10 a.m. Sunday, no arrests had been announced since police investigators say several shooters opened fire into a large crowd as hundreds of people were out on South Street in downtown Philadelphia just before midnight Saturday.
The Democrat, reacting to "lives senselessly lost and those injured in yet another horrendous, brazen and despicable act of gun violence," said: "We cannot accept continued violence as a way of life in our country."
"Until we address the availability and ease of access to firearms, we will always be fighting an uphill battle," Kenney said. "As Mayor, I will continue to fight to protect our communities and urge others to advocate for stronger laws that keep guns out of the hands of violent individuals."
Describing the shooting as "devastating" and another "terrible tragedy," Kenney affirmed that "the safety of our residents and our visitors is our top priority."
He said his heart was with the friends, family and loved ones of those killed and injured.
"Our city—and country—have experienced a steep rise in gun violence over the past few years," he said. "We’ve spent these years grappling with this rising epidemic and doing everything in our power not only to stop it but to try to understand why the violence continues—it’s senseless, needless, and deeply troubling."
"The surge in gun violence that we’ve seen across the nation—and here in Philadelphia—makes me not just heartbroken, but angry," the mayor said. "Our administration, in partnership with all of our local and federal law enforcement agencies, continues to work relentlessly to reduce violence and create safer communities."
The Philadelphia Police Department "is investigating this heinous crime to ensure the people who are responsible are brought to justice," Kenney said, urging anyone with information to report it to 215-686-TIPS. Tips can be submitted anonymously.
"This is a complex, ongoing investigation, and we will release more information about this incident as information becomes available," the mayor added.