Gunfire on a West Philadelphia sidewalk Wednesday afternoon injured two men just a day after a man was shot three blocks away, and two days after two men were shot inside a corner grocery two blocks away, authorities said.

Police said Wednesday’s gunfire erupted at 12:26 p.m. An 18-year-old man was shot in the stomach, and police took him to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, where he was listed in stable condition. A 20-year-old man received a graze wound to the right hip. He was taken to the same hospital, where he was listed in stable condition.

The first shooting happened shortly before 7 p.m. Monday, when two men walked into the 54 & Wyalusing Food Market and opened fire on an 18-year-old man, shooting him twice in the buttocks, once in the neck, and once in the left arm. He was hospitalized in critical but stable condition, police said.

The market’s owner, Franklin Peralta, 38, received a graze wound to the lower left leg, for which he was treated and released from the hospital later that day. He was back to work the day after the shooting. The married father of four said he returned so quickly because he has to pay his bills.

On Tuesday, March 3, 2020, at 54 & Wyalusing Food Market, owner Franklin Peralta shows the graze wound he received when two gunmen opened fire on one of his customers the previous day.
Mensah M. Dean/ Staff
On Tuesday, March 3, 2020, at 54 & Wyalusing Food Market, owner Franklin Peralta shows the graze wound he received when two gunmen opened fire on one of his customers the previous day.

At 2:10 p.m. Tuesday, police said, a man was shot in the groin at Pennsgrove and Conestoga Streets. He was hospitalized in stable condition.

Wednesday’s violence hit too close to home for the teachers and toddlers at P&P Sunnyside Academy III, at 54th Street and Girard Avenue, who heard the gunfire and saw a young man lying in pain on the sidewalk, owner Saudia Davis said.

“He was screaming: ‘Help me, help me! Don’t let me die!’ He was hysterical,” Davis said.

Davis, who has been in business six years and owns three day-care centers in West Philadelphia, said she also had been rattled when she heard the gunfire Tuesday. When Wednesday’s shooting began, she said, her staffers took their 1- to 3-year-old pupils to the second floor to avoid the possibility of being hit by stray bullets. She then called the children’s parents to pick them up early.

“This gun violence is just crazy,” Davis said. “We are coming in and out of the building constantly, taking trips and taking them for walks, but we’re not going to do that anymore. On a nice day like this, you should be able to go out to play.”

A police spokesperson said investigators were looking into whether the three shootings were linked. Brandon Jones, an outreach worker with the Philadelphia Anti-Drug/Anti-Violence Network, said a peace rally is being organized for that sliver of West Philadelphia, sandwiched between Mill Creek, Haddington, and Carroll Park.

“Five people shot in a three-day span all in a three-block radius,” he said. “It does seem strange that it’s all close like this.”