(Reuters) –Mass shootings in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Fort Worth, Texas, claimed the lives of 10 people ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, officials said, a grim reminder of the United States’ decades-long failure to curb gun-fueled violence.
In Fort Worth, three people were killed and eight wounded in a mass shooting following a local festival, police said on Tuesday.
In a separate mass shooting incident in Philadelphia on Monday evening, five people were killed and two were injured when a suspect in a bullet-proof vest opened fire on apparent strangers, according to local police. A toddler and a teenager were among the wounded.
The Monday night shootings came a day after two people were shot dead and 28 others injured, about half of them children, in a hail of gunfire at an outdoor neighborhood block party in Baltimore.
U.S. President Joe Biden condemned the violence and renewed his calls to tighten America’s lax gun laws.
“Our nation has once again endured a wave of tragic and senseless shootings,” the president said in a statement released on Tuesday. Biden called on Republican lawmakers – who have generally blocked attempts to significantly reform gun safety laws and oppose Biden’s push to reinstate a ban on assault weapons – “to come to the table on meaningful, commonsense reforms.”
The motives in all three recent shootings weren’t immediately clear.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said her force had arrested a suspect, identified as a 40-year-old man who had an assault-style rifle among other weapons, telling a late-night news conference that “we have absolutely no idea why this happened.”
Police in Fort Worth said no arrests have been made.
“We don’t know if this is domestic-related, if it is gang-related. It is too early to tell at this point,” said Shawn Murray, a senior police official.
Police have said they are seeking multiple suspects in the Baltimore shooting incident.
The latest shootings took place around the anniversary of last year’s Highland Park mass shooting near Chicago where seven people were shot dead and 48 others were wounded at an Independence Day parade. A 22-year-old man remains in custody after being indicted on 117 felony charges for the carnage.
U.S. MASS SHOOTINGS NEAR RECORD IN 2023
The United States has been struggling with a large number of mass shootings and incidents of gun violence. There have been over 340 mass shootings so far in 2023 in the country, according to data collected by the Gun Violence Archive, which defines a mass shooting as an incident in which at least four people are shot, excluding the shooter.
At the pace of the first half of this year, mass shootings over the 2023 calendar year would reach 679 or about double the 336 recorded in 2018. That would mark the second-highest annual total over the last nine years, behind only the 690 recorded in 2021, according to data collected by the nonprofit group that tracks shootings.
The United States has by far the most gun deaths per capita of any large high-income country, analysis from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation shows.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh and Gabriella Borter; Writing by Raphael Satter; Editing by Mark Porter and Heather Timmons)
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