Shooting at Ramadan celebration in Philadelphia wounds 3; 5 people arrested

A shooting during an event to mark the end of Ramadan in Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon left three people wounded, and five suspects have been arrested, police said.

The incident occurred about 2:30 p.m. at Clara Muhammad Square on 47th Street and Wyalusing Avenue in West Philadelphia, according to NBC Philadelphia.

Two factions appeared to be exchanging gunfire in the park, and police officers saw four people fleeing the scene, Police Commissioner Kevin J. Bethel told reporters. He said about 30 gunshots erupted in a park where about 1,000 people were gathered.

“We are very, very fortunate today that we did not have more individuals shot and anyone killed,” Bethel said. He lauded police and attendees for their bravery and actions. He said some at the event “grabbed kids and got them out of harm’s way. It was a collective effort today for those who are attending the event, as well as our police officers."

One of the officers engaged a 15-year-old boy who had a weapon and shot him in a shoulder and a leg, Bethel said.

Three people were shot — one in an exchange of gunfire most likely before police arrived, another by police gunfire and a child who was shot in the hand from unknown gunfire — Bethel said.

A shooting during a large Ramadan event in West Philadelphia Wednesday afternoon prompted a massive police presence, sources told NBC1 Philadelphia. (NBC Philadelphia)
A shooting during a large Ramadan event in West Philadelphia Wednesday afternoon prompted a massive police presence, sources told NBC1 Philadelphia. (NBC Philadelphia)

Police recovered five guns, Bethel said.

In the chaos after the shooting, a child who was struck by a police vehicle suffered a broken leg, he said.

The Philadelphia Masjid, a mosque near the park, was holding an event at the time of the gunfire. No one with the mosque could immediately be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Many Muslims around the world celebrated Eid-al-Fitr on Wednesday to mark the conclusion of the holy month of Ramadan. It is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which is when Muslims believe the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. Traditionally, the month is observed by fasting from sunrise to sunset each day, and Eid-al-Fitr is as important to Muslims as Christmas is to many Christians.

The Council on American Islamic Relations said in a report last week that last year marked the highest number of bias reports in its 30-year history.

The Muslim civil rights organization said it got 8,061 complaints nationally in 2023 from Muslims who reported having experienced discrimination or hate incidents. The figure is a 56% increase from 2022.

Almost half of all complaints came in the final three months of the year, after the start of the Israel-Hamas war, which the report cites as the driving force of heightened Islamophobia.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com