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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Mass shooting in Philadelphia: What to know

Philadelphia police at the scene of a shooting on Monday night.

By Sarah Mervosh

An attacker using a military-style rifle killed five people and injured two children during a shooting spree in a Philadelphia neighborhood Monday, firing shots on the open street and bringing terror to passersby before being caught by the police. Officials said they are treating the shooting as a random attack.

The shooting was one of at least 348 incidents across the nation this year in which four or more people were injured or killed, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Here’s what we know and don’t know so far.

What happened?

The assailant, dressed in a ski mask and body armor, opened fire in the Kingsessing neighborhood of southwest Philadelphia sometime after 8 p.m. Monday, authorities said.

The shooting is believed to have begun at a home and moved to the street, where the attacker fired a barrage of shots at cars and people in the neighborhood. One woman’s car was hit while she was driving her family home, injuring her children.

The attack ended when the police chased the assailant into an alley and made an arrest.

The shooting, which unfolded on the eve of Independence Day, cast a shadow over celebrations and added to the nation’s growing apprehension over mass shootings, including a deadly attack at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, last year.

Who were the victims?

The five people killed in Philadelphia had been out running errands, were on their way home from work or lived in the neighborhood. They ranged in age from 15 to 59.

The youngest, Dajuan Brown, 15, was a rising sophomore at the Jules E. Mastbaum High School, a career and technical school in Philadelphia. He was staying at his grandmother’s house for the summer.

The teenager “had his own little spice on his dancing,” said his mother, Nyshyia Thomas, 34, who said that her son’s death would be especially hard on his siblings.

Thomas said she was still processing that she would never again see her “baby,” who had lifted the spirits of those around him. “You were sad around him, he wasn’t letting you be sad,” she said.

Lashyd Merritt, 20, had been on his way to the store when he was shot and killed. He had recently graduated from high school and was working for the IRS, according to his brother-in-law, Dominique Evans.

“He was a kind person,” Evans said. “Very caring, smart.”

Dymir Stanton, 29, was “good with people,” said Willa Mae Dill, an aunt who lives in the neighborhood and enjoyed frequent visits with her nephew. A sports fan, he had a girlfriend and a 4-year-old daughter.

Ralph Moralis, 59, who worked in restaurants, was on his way home from work and had been chatting with a friend moments before gunfire broke out, said the friend, Omar Davis. “Good dude,” Davis said. “He grew up in this community. Everybody knows him.” Moralis had been scheduled to walk a daughter down the aisle at her wedding this weekend, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Joseph Wamah, Jr., 31, who lived in the neighborhood, was also killed. Police have said they believe he was home alone at the time of the shooting and was perhaps the first victim.

Two children, ages 2 and 13, were hospitalized with injuries from the shooting and were in stable condition.

Who is the suspect?

The suspect, Kimbrady Carriker, 40, was arraigned Wednesday morning on more than 30 counts, including murder, attempted murder, assault and reckless endangerment.

There was some confusion initially about Carriker’s gender identity, and in a news conference Tuesday, authorities used the pronouns “they/them” to describe him. But Wednesday, officials from the district attorney’s office said they had no information indicating that the suspect considered himself anything but male.

Carriker appeared in a courtroom Wednesday via video. He was represented by a public defender and offered one-word answers from a chair in the corner of a cinder-block room, his arms tightly crossed across a white jumpsuit. He was ordered held without bond on the murder charges, and a hearing was set for July 24.

Authorities have released few details about a possible motive.

The district attorney, Larry Krasner, said the shooting had “the characteristics of a lot of random mass shootings that occur in the United States.” He added, “This does not appear to be a whole bunch of people who knew each other very well.”

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