A Philadelphia man has been charged with murder, attempted murder and other crimes for allegedly carrying out a shooting spree in the city on Monday that left five people dead and two others injured by gunfire, including a toddler.
Kimbrady Carriker, 40, was apprehended by police shortly after the attack and is currently being held without bail, a spokesperson for Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said.
Krasner said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference that the attack was "essentially a random shooting" and that the suspect did not know the victims.
Carriker allegedly wore body armor and a ski mask and used an AR-15-style rifle during the shooting. He was also found with a 9mm handgun, which was an untraceable "ghost" gun, Assistant District Attorney Bob Wainwright added.
After speaking with some of the people who lived with Carriker, investigators said they learned that he recently had been exhibiting strange behavior, though they didn't elaborate.
On Tuesday, city leaders including police commissioner Danielle M. Outlaw condemned the violence that rocked Southwest Philadelphia just hours ahead of the holiday.
"What happened last night in our Kingsessing neighborhood was unimaginably disgusting and horrifying," Outlaw said. "On what was supposed to be a beautiful summer evening, this armed and armored individual wreaked havoc, firing with a rifle at their victims — seemingly at random."
A prayer vigil was planned for Wednesday evening at the Salt & Light ministry for those impacted by the shooting.
Gunfire erupted on the eve of the Fourth of July
Police received a call around 8:28 p.m. Monday evening for a person with a gun and an active shooter situation in Southwest Philadelphia, authorities said.
When officers arrived on scene, they found multiple gunshot victims and had started tending to them when they heard more gunshots ring out.
While some officers continued caring for the injured, others ran toward the gunfire and began chasing the suspect, who allegedly fired at them. Police eventually cornered the alleged shooter in an alley, where authorities said he was taken into custody without incident.
Outlaw said investigators did not believe there were additional suspects or an ongoing threat to the community.
Six of the victims were transported to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, where four of them were pronounced dead, police said Tuesday.
Authorities added that they had no indications that any of the victims were specifically targeted.
Among those fired upon was a mother who was driving her twin children back to their house. One of the children was shot in the leg while the other was injured by broken glass. The mother was also injured.
"None of the victims engaged the suspect or were aware the suspect was going to inflict this act of violence upon them," Philadelphia Police staff inspector Ernest Ransom said Tuesday.
Officials clarified Wednesday that a second person who was also taken into custody by police after the shooting was the brother of one of the victims. The man saw that his brother had been killed and fired seven shots from a gun he legally owned in the direction of the suspect but did not hit him. That man was later released without charges.
The victims ranged in age from two to 59
All five victims who died in the shooting were male. Authorities identified them as:
- Lashyd Merritt, 20
- Dymir Stanton, 29
- Ralph Moralis, 59
- Daujan Brown, 15
- Joseph Wamah, Jr., 31
Two other people were shot and wounded in the incident — a 13-year-old boy and a two-year-old boy.
Authorities said another 2-year-old boy and a 33-year-old woman were injured by broken glass.
Wamah's sister, Josephine, remembered her brother as a talented artist who was kind, funny and loved the Creed movies. Wamah had a degree in psychology from Chestnut Hill College, his sister added.
"I don't understand how someone could just do that to my brother," Josephine Wamah said Wednesday.
"I really love him. And the fact that you did this to us, for your own agenda, for your own reasons, it's just really pissing me off. It's really pissing me off. I'm gonna miss him a lot."
City officials again called for greater gun control measures
Monday's shooting came one day after gunfire broke out at a Baltimore block party on Sunday, leaving two people dead and 28 others injured.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, the U.S. has seen at least 356 mass shootings so far this year, which the nonprofit defines as a shooting in which four or more people other than the shooter are shot.
Philadelphia officials who shared details about Monday night's violence again implored lawmakers to pass additional measures to prevent such massacres in the future.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said he was "frustrated and outraged" at the mass shootings that have been occurring across the country.
"This country needs to reexamine its conscience and find out how to get guns out of dangerous people's hands," Kenney said. "A person walking down a city street with an AR-style rifle and shooting randomly at people while wearing a bulletproof vest, with multiple magazines, is a disgraceful but all-too-common situation in America."
Krasner noted on Tuesday that neighboring states including New Jersey and Delaware had stricter gun control laws than the commonwealth.
"It is time for everybody in our legislature — including the ones who would like to walk around with an AR-15 lapel pin — it is time for every one of them to face the voters," he said. "If they're not going to do something, then the voters are going to have to vote them out, because that's what that lapel pin means. It means, 'vote me out.'"