By Spy Uganda Correspondent
Ten people were killed and 38 wounded in mass shootings in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Fort Worth ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, officials said, prompting a fresh call from President Joe Biden to pass gun control legislation.
In Fort Worth, three people were killed and eight wounded in a mass shooting after a local festival to mark the US Independence Day holiday, police said on Tuesday (July 4).
In a separate mass shooting in Philadelphia on Monday evening, five people were killed and two were wounded, including a 2-year-old boy and 13-year-old boy, both of whom were shot in the legs, when a suspect in body armour and armed with an AR-15 opened fire on strangers, according to local police.
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 a neighbourhood block party in Baltimore.
The motives in all three recent shootings remained unclear.
The United States is struggling with a large number of mass shootings and incidents of gun violence.
There have been over 340 mass shootings in the country so far in 2023, 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.
Biden condemned the violence on Tuesday and renewed his calls to tighten America’s gun laws.
“Our nation has once again endured a wave of tragic and senseless shootings,” Biden said in a statement, calling on Republican lawmakers “to come to the table on meaningful, commonsense reforms.”
Citing constitutional protections for gun ownership, Republicans in Congress have generally blocked attempts to significantly reform gun safety laws and oppose Biden’s push to reinstate a ban on assault weapons.
‘Begging’ for action
Philadelphia officials pleaded with state and federal lawmakers to act.
“We are begging Congress to protect lives and do something about America’s gun problem,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, a Democrat, told a news conference on Tuesday.
The city’s district attorney, Larry Krasner, asked Philadelphia state lawmakers for “reasonable legislation” of the type found in neighbouring New Jersey and Delaware.
“Some of that legislation might have made a difference here,” Krasner said.
Philadelphia police said the suspect was a 40-year-old man who had an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and a 9mm pistol who wore body armour and a ski mask.
The dead ranged in age from 15 to 59.
Krasner vowed to present multiple charges of murder and other offences at the shooter’s first court hearing on Wednesday.
Police in Fort Worth said no arrests had been made in a shooting that broke out at Como Fest, a recent tradition celebrating the Como neighbourhood’s African American history.
“I choose to believe this is a few bad perpetrators that came into this neighbourhood to really wreak havoc,” Mayor Mattie Parker said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Witnesses heard a barrage of gunfire just before midnight that led some to initially believe it was fireworks but soon led to a stampede for safety.
Hours later, defiant neighbours and community leaders held their July Fourth parade through Como.
In Baltimore, police have said they are seeking multiple suspects.
The latest shootings took place around the anniversary of last year’s Highland Park mass shooting near Chicago, where seven people were killed and 48 others wounded at an Independence Day parade. A 22-year-old man remains in custody after being indicted on 117 felony charges for the carnage.