Christmas morning got off to a grim start in Philadelphia when gunfire in the city’s Kensington section left a teenage boy dead and his father fatally shot by police. Another teenage boy was seriously injured.
Police said they had responded to a call about a disturbance or a fight, around 12:30 a.m. when a 43-year-old man fired into the crowd on the 3300 block of Emerald Street. Officers then shot him in the torso. He was pronounced dead at Temple University Hospital, police said.
Police did not disclose how many times he was hit, just that two officers fired at him.
A 15-year-old male whom police identified as the alleged gunman’s son was pronounced dead at Temple, where a 17-year-old, the alleged gunman’s nephew, remained Friday in stable condition, police said.
The family of the man, identified by CBS3 as Jesus Perez, denied that he was armed or would have fired at his own child. “He would obviously never do that,” his brother, Noris Cueva-Nova, said in an email. “He was a respectable, hard-working man who cared deeply for his family.”
The officers were attempting to defuse the situation, police said, when additional family members of people feuding in the street came out of their houses and gathered on the sidewalk and in the middle of the street. Pushing and punching ensued between the original combatants, police said, when a man pulled a gun from his right rear waistband and fired it, hitting both teenagers.
That’s when both officers drew their weapons and fired at the gunman, according to police. In his hand, one of the officers found a 9mm Smith & Wesson reported stolen from Virginia, according to police.
No officers were injured, said spokesperson Sgt. Eric Gripp, who described the department as “grateful that this situation wasn’t worse than it was.”
“It’s unconscionable that a person could fire a weapon into a crowd of people at any time, let alone on Christmas Day,” Gripp said. “Because of this individual’s decision to fire a gun, two lives are over, and countless lives are forever changed.”
The investigation was continuing.