Six people — including a man who was asleep in his upstairs apartment — were shot late Thursday night in East Germantown, leaving three of them in critical condition, police said.

Police responded to the 700 block of East Chelten Avenue at 11:54 p.m., where they discovered five men outside, ranging in age from 18 to 26, suffering from gunshot wounds.

Officers also found a 48-year-old man who had been shot once in the groin by a stray bullet while sleeping in his upstairs apartment on the 800 block of East Chelten Avenue — about a half-block away from where they found numerous fired cartridge casings.

A 23-year-old man who was shot once in the chest, a 26-year-old man who was shot multiple times in a leg, and a 22-year-old man who was shot several times throughout his lower body were in critical condition, police said Friday.

Responding officers also found an 18-year-old man who had been shot in the back and a shoulder, and a 22-year-old man who was shot in his left leg. Both were in stable condition.

First Deputy Police Commissioner Melvin Singleton speaks on the 700 block of East Chelten Avenue where six people were shot.
STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer
First Deputy Police Commissioner Melvin Singleton speaks on the 700 block of East Chelten Avenue where six people were shot.

Police transported the five men found outside to Einstein Medical Center. In total, 31 bullet casings were found, police said at the scene. The 48-year-old man was also taken to Einstein in stable condition.

Residents and store workers on Chelten — a busy, two-way street that has a mix of businesses, including Chinese and Jamaican restaurants, a Social Security Administration office, a doughnut and coffee shop, and a child-care center, as well as single-family houses — said the man lives above a chicken takeout. A woman working there Friday said she didn’t know anything about the shooting.

On the 700 block of Chelten shortly after the shooting, First Deputy Police Commissioner Melvin Singleton told reporters: “We are working very hard to find out the reasons for this, but what we do know is that we do have group-on-group violence in various parts of the city that’s plaguing us right now. That’s more than likely the reason for this particular situation. We know that we have group-on-group violence on this particular block, in this particular area.”

Cynthia Palmer, 67, a resident of the block, said that she didn’t know any of the victims. She was in her bed Thursday night watching a movie when she heard a “lot of gunshots,” then “peeked through the window.”

“It’s crazy, miss,” she said as she was sitting on her porch Friday. “This is the Wild, Wild West.”

”I was so scared,” said Palmer, who came to the United States from Montego Bay, Jamaica, in 1973. ”It’s a jungle out here.”

Cynthia Palmer, of Chelten Avenue in East Germantown, said her block felt like the "Wild Wild West" when gunfire rang out late Thursday, wounding six men.
JULIE SHAW / Staff
Cynthia Palmer, of Chelten Avenue in East Germantown, said her block felt like the "Wild Wild West" when gunfire rang out late Thursday, wounding six men.

Another woman who lives on the block, who was also sitting on her porch Friday, didn’t appear surprised by the gunfire. “It’s Philly. You don’t look out when you hear gunshots,” said the 30-year-old woman, who declined to give her name out of fear for her safety.

She said the shooting happened in front of a Chinese restaurant that’s open late.

On the sidewalk Friday in front of one home next to the restaurant, 19 blue circles drawn in chalk marked the spots where police found many of the cartridge casings.

Two women who work at the restaurant said Friday that the restaurant closes at midnight. A 21-year-old woman, who declined to give her name, said she heard gunshots, then saw people running outside.

The gunfire was followed by another shooting around 3:30 a.m. Friday on the 5000 block of North Broad Street in the city’s Logan section, where responding officers discovered a 34-year-old man suffering from a gunshot wound behind his left ear. He was transported to Einstein and remains in stable condition, police said.

In both cases, police said no weapons were recovered and no arrests have been made.

The shootings marked the latest wave of the gun violence plaguing the city this year. At least 1,309 people had been shot in Philadelphia so far this year. As of Thursday night, 307 people have died from homicides, most by shootings, according to police statistics, a 32% increase from the same period last year.