17th and Pulaski: Residents of a Tioga block decry deadly violence
The Tioga slaying was one of two fatal shootings in the city Monday, police said. Another happened in Fairhill. In all, at least 10 people were shot Monday and Tuesday in Philadelphia.
Just after 6 p.m. Monday, a burst of gunfire shook the 3700 block of Pulaski Avenue, near 17th Street in Tioga. Some residents said the noise was so ominous that they stayed away from their doors and windows even after the block had been lit up by the flashing lights of first responders.
“I was in my bedroom, and I said, ‘Let me see how fast the police engines come,’” said Cynthia Owensby, 64, whose family has lived on the block for more than 60 years. “Within 30 seconds, I heard police cars coming. I didn’t look out my window or nothing.”
“It’s bad to say,” said Marcella Reid, 72, who moved to the block in 1990 to take care of her parents, who have since died. “But if they want to shoot each other, and they don’t shoot kids and people who are standing on the steps, fine. But they can’t shoot straight.”
Police said Sean Gunther, 36, of the 1600 block of Paul Street, Frankford, was found near 17th and Pulaski with multiple gunshot wounds. Medics took him to Temple University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 7:36.
Residents said violence is all too common around the intersection, a short walk from where six city police officers were wounded in an August shootout with a man wanted for allegedly dealing drugs in the 3700 block of North 15th Street.
“We’re moving, getting out of here. That’s all they’re doing around here — shooting,” said Richard Dunlap, 53, who has lived in the neighborhood for six years with a daughter and her children.
Most of the residents when Reid moved in were homeowners, she said, but now there are more renters, and neighbors don’t know each other as well. She added that she would move if she could.
“This is their lifestyle. I don’t understand it,” Owensby said of those who commit violent acts in the community. “Everybody walking around with guns. You don’t know who’s got them, you don’t know who really needs them.”
The Tioga slaying was one of two fatal shootings in the city Monday, police said. Earlier in the day, at 11:29 a.m., Carmelo Gomez, 49, of the 1100 block of Friendship Street, Northeast Philadelphia, was found lying on a sidewalk in the 400 block of West Allegheny Avenue, Fairhill, with multiple gunshot wounds.
Paramedics took him to Temple, where he was pronounced dead just before noon.
The two homicides raised the city’s total this year to 329, up 5% from 314 at the same point a year ago, according to the Police Department.
Meanwhile, eight people survived gunshot wounds Monday and Tuesday, and among them were two men who drove themselves to hospitals, police said.
At 12:31 a.m. Tuesday, a 20-year-old man who had been shot in the left knee while inside a black Lincoln in the 8300 block of Cottage Street, Holmesburg, drove himself to Jefferson-Torresdale Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition.
And a 21-year-old man who was shot just before 5 p.m. Monday in the back and legs inside a car in the 1300 block of West Erie Avenue, Franklinville, drove himself to Temple. His condition was not available.
As of late Tuesday afternoon, no arrests had been made in any of the shootings Monday and Tuesday, police said.