A barrage of gunfire interrupted mundane morning routines in the west end of Chester on Friday. Residents scrambled in their houses as two people were wounded, including the driver of a maroon Jaguar that careered out of control and crashed into a minivan, according to witnesses and police. The driver later died.
The rapid gunfire came in two bursts near Ninth and Keystone Streets, an area residents say is too acquainted with gun violence.
"Can we please have a state of emergency now?" Janene Shipley shouted to Police Commissioner Joseph Bail at the scene.
Witnesses said the gunfire sounded like an "explosion."
A woman got out of the Jaguar, collapsed, got up, and fell down again, witnesses said.
The wounded driver, described as a 21-year-old man, was taken to Crozer-Chester Medical Center, where he later died. The woman, his sister, also was taken there with wounds to her left leg.
Blood was visible on a door and the front seat of the Jaguar. One side of the midnight-blue minivan was crushed. Up the street, a driver's-side window of a Ford Explorer had been shot out by a stray bullet.
In response to deadly violence in recent years, Chester has declared states of emergency and imposed curfews.
"We need help bad," Shipley said of the city's violence, struggling schools, and unemployment.
Shipley's brother Robert Tyrone Morris was killed "two months and one day" ago, she said. The 40-year-old contractor was shot in an attempted robbery while walking near Clover Lane.
Many who heard or saw Friday's gunfight said they were too wary of retaliation by the shooters to give their names to reporters. "I made it out of the gulf, so I ain't trying to get killed down here because I got interviewed," said a man who identified himself as a 47-year-old former Marine.
The driver who was wounded was a regular at a variety store in the neighborhood; he had gone there Friday about 45 minutes before the shooting started, the store owner said.
"I know him. He comes in every day," Mahmoud Kneifata said. The victim would always buy a Bluntville cigar, Kneifata said.
The neighborhood has witnessed too much gun violence, Mary Beth Anderson, 58, said.
"This is the fourth or fifth time this week there's been gunfire," she said. She said on Thursday, she called the city to complain and wanted to know why the mayor's office didn't get back to her.
"I don't even want to let my dog out," she said, referring to her Labradoodle, Gauge. "Bullets have no name."