3 dead in violent night in Philadelphia

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After three overnight homicides in Philadelphia, Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey asked Thursday why people were not outraged by the killings — a reference to recent protests against police-involved shootings.

“We’ve got 40 homicides in Philadelphia so far this year, 98 percent or so of whom are African American. I think there should be some outrage about that,” Ramsey said.

The first killing happened at about 11:40 p.m. Wednesday on the 200 block of West Westmoreland Street in North Philadelphia, where police were called when a 35-year-old woman was found shot in a vehicle.

The woman had been shot in her chest and her left arm.

She was taken to Temple University Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 12:09 a.m. Thursday, police said.

Chief Inspector Scott Small told reporters at the scene that the driver-side window of the car was rolled down, leading investigators to believe she may have been talking with someone or conducting a transaction.

Investigators found 11 spent shell casings from a "large-caliber" semiautomatic gun, Small said.

About two hours later, officers were called to reports of gunfire on the 2700 block of Latona Street in the Grays Ferry section of South Philadelphia.

Two 22-year-old men were fatally shot on the street in the 2:15 a.m. incident, police said.

One victim was shot in his head, chest and left arm. He was taken to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 4:02 a.m.

The other was shot in his groin, right thigh and chest. He was also taken to the hospital and pronounced dead at 2:38 a.m., police said.

At least nine shots were fired, authorities said. The shell casings were found near the victims, indicating the gunman was firing from a close range.

Officials said a weapon was recovered. At the hospital, a revolver was found in the pocket of one of the victims, Small said.

None of the shooting victims were immediately identified. No one else was reported injured in either incident.

Further details about what sparked the violence weren't available and police said the motives in the killings remained under investigation.

There is a $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in any homicide, police said.

The three homicides bring to 40 the number of slayings in Philadelphia so far this year.

At this time last year, 44 killings had been reported in the city.

Before the overnight violence, the most recent homicide was the Monday night slaying of a 34-year-old man who walked into a firehouse for help after being shot near 26th and Hagert streets. Medics took Mario Pedro to Temple's hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Saying "we have some violent people here that settle disputes with a gun," Commissioner Ramsey told reporters outside police headquarters it was important "to remember that these are the very people police go after on a regular basis and try to bring them into custody."

"We encounter some very dangerous people out there," he added.

Police are also investigating a nonfatal shooting that occurred during an attempted carjacking in Southwest Philadelphia.

Police said a man in his 30s reported that he was approached by two men near 67th Street and Guyer Avenue at about 1:45 a.m.

The assailants told him to get out of his Mercedes Benz, but the man tried to take off instead, police said.

One of the men began shooting, firing several shots and hitting the victim once. The man suffered a graze wound to his head and was taken to Penn Presbyterian in stable condition.

No arrests were made and no description of suspects were available in any of the shooting incidents.

Anyone with information on any crime is asked to contact Philadelphia police.

- Philly.com staff writer Emily Babay and Inquirer staff writer Robert Moran contributed to this report

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