Two mass shootings on the eve of Independence Day celebrations in Philadelphia and Fort Worth have left multiple casualties as people in the United States continue to agonize over the gun violence "epidemic."
At least five people were killed and two others, both minors, injured when a gunman wearing body armor opened fire in a Philadelphia neighborhood Monday night, police said.
The incident's two injured victims were described as children aged 2 and 13, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle M. Outlaw told reporters at a news briefing.
She described the suspected perpetrator as a 40-year-old male armed with a semi-automatic rifle and a handgun who was wearing a ballistic vest and a police scanner.
The suspected gunman also had multiple magazines of ammunition, Outlaw said. She described the rifle as being in the style of the AR-15, a weapon initially developed for military use.
The perpetrator’s motive is still unclear.
In Fort Worth, Texas, at least three people were killed and eight others wounded in a shooting just before midnight on Monday, police said.
“We had a shooting. It appears that we had multiple victims that were shot. Probably three of them were transported to Harris Southwest,” police Capt. Shawn Murray said during a news briefing. “Five more victims were transported to John Peter Smith.”
“Traditionally, the Como neighborhood, July 3 is their big celebration,” Murray said. “They have their parade, and July 3 in the evening, they gather up as a neighborhood and come together.”
Fort Worth Police Department’s homicide unit announced in a news release that ten of the victims were adults and one a minor.
It’s too early to tell if the shooting was gang-related, a domestic dispute, or something else, police added.
The US marked Independence Day last year with multiple mass shooting incidents.
Till now, US lawmakers remain divided over gun laws and Congress has not been able to pass a ban on the possession and use of assault weapons.
US President Joe Biden has time and again called on Congress to help end the gun "epidemic" that has been wreaking havoc across the country.
Biden's calls for a ban on assault rifles have been to no avail as the pro-gun lobbies and their supporters usually cite the second amendment of the US Constitution as the reason for their resistance to arms control.
However, it is an open secret that the profit gained in the arms industry is a main motivation rather than adherence to the country’s Constitution.