Philadelphia shooting: Crowds flee from 4 July fireworks after two police officers shot

Police respond to a shooting in Philadelphia (Audrey Schneider via Reuters)
Police respond to a shooting in Philadelphia (Audrey Schneider via Reuters)

Two police officers were shot on Monday night in Philadelphia as thousands of people gathered for the city’s 4 July festivities.

Videos from the incident showed crowds of people who had gathered for a concert and fireworks scattering in panic as a gunman fired shots.

“There is a security incident on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway,” emergency authorities said, while police instructed people in surrounding buildings to shelter in place.

One of the officers, identified as a 36-year-old who was assigned to highway patrol, received a graze wound to the forehead. He has been in service for 14 years.

The other officer, a 44-year-old assigned to the Montgomery County Bomb Squad, sustained a gunshot wound to his right shoulder.

Both officers were rushed to Jefferson University Hospital and are reportedly in a stable condition after suffering non-life-threatening injuries.

“I didn’t hear the shots, but the cops were like, ‘Run, run, run’,” one woman told an NBC affiliate.

The fireworks continued even after the shots were fired, and officers had to request that the show be shut down to control the chaos.

Those who had gathered to celebrate took to Twitter to share the horror they experienced.

“Ten minutes into watching fireworks in Philadelphia tonight, we were scooping up our children and sprinting away from a shooting,” Sara Triana said.

“Explaining what was happening to my kids as we sheltered behind a building ... f***. I will never forget this horror.”

“One minute after this picture was taken, we started running because of a shooter. I hate this for my children and for our country,” wrote Evelyn Bysiek.

In a late-night press conference, Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney said that it had initially been a laid-back day, “but we live in America”.

“This is a gun country. It’s crazy. We’re the most armed country in world history and we’re one of the least safest. Until Americans decide that they want to give up the guns and give up the opportunity to get guns, we are gonna have this problem,” the mayor said.

“If I had the ability to take care of guns, I would.”

The shooting took place just hours after a gunman on a rooftop in Illinois opened fire on families waving flags and children riding bikes, killing at least six people and leaving 36 wounded in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park.

Earlier in June, three people were killed and 11 others injured after multiple shooters opened fire into a crowd in a popular Philadelphia entertainment district.