July Fourth event shooting causes panic in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Scores of people watching a Fourth of July fireworks show in Philadelphia ran for cover when gunshots rang out, forcing them to leave behind strollers and other personal items as they sought refuge from what many feared was someone shooting into the crowd.

Two Philadelphia police officers working at the event suffered graze wounds when shots were fired shortly after the event started Monday in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum. The gunfire came just hours after a holiday shooting in suburban Chicago left at least seven people dead and at least 30 wounded.

Witnesses in Philadelphia said they saw some people being run over or banged into as others tried to flee the packed crowd, with many running through or over metal fences that had been set up for crowd control purposes. No serious injuries were reported in the chaos, although many people said they had scrapes and bruises.

Investigators have not yet determined where the shots came from or how many were fired. It’s also unclear whether someone intentionally fired at the officers or if the shots possibly came from someone shooting off a weapon to celebrate the holiday. No arrests have been made.

One officer suffered a wound to the forehead — with officials saying the bullet was found in the officer’s hat — while the other was wounded in the shoulder. Both officers were treated at a hospital and were later released.

Afterward, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney expressed frustration over efforts to toughen gun laws.

“This is a gun country. It’s crazy. We are the most armed country in world history and we are one of the least safe,” Kenney said. “I’m waiting for something bad to happen all the time.”

The Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5 announced Tuesday a $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

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