Bullets tore through the offices of State Sen. Sharif Street and the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP late Monday night, leaving one man injured and in critical condition.
Shortly after 11:30 p.m. Monday, police responded to a report of a shooting on Germantown Avenue near Windrim Avenue. When officers arrived, they found bullet casings strewn across the street, along with bullet fragments, a laser sight used for a handgun, and a trail of blood that led them to an alleyway behind Sister Muhammad’s Kitchen.
The trail of blood continued, circling Street’s office, Street told The Inquirer. The office building was riddled with bullet holes, with no fewer than three shell casings found inside, he said. One bullet struck a steel cabinet, leaving a dent the size of a grapefruit, he said. Another bullet pierced thick glass and went through a wall in the far side of the office.
No one from Street’s office was injured, he said. Police later discovered that a 25-year-old man, who had suffered multiple gunshot wounds, had been driven to Temple University Hospital. As of Tuesday morning, the unidentified man was in critical condition.
Police found a weapon and were still investigating the shooting Tuesday. No arrests had been made.
Street said it was the first time the office building had been hit by bullets and there was no indication the office had been targeted. But gunfire is part of the everyday lives of many of his constituents, he said.
“Shell casings in an office from military-grade weapons. An office circled in blood,” he said. “Unfortunately it’s part of the reality that folks in the communities I represent are dealing with.”
Philadelphia’s gun violence crisis has also struck home for much of his staff and Street himself, he said.
By Street’s estimate, half of his staff have lost a family member to gun violence. On July 4, Salahaldin Mahmoud, 21, was shot and killed during a cookout in West Philadelphia. Mahmoud was the cousin of Street’s wife, April. Mahmoud was like a nephew to Street and his wife, the couple previously said.
Mahmoud was one of more than 50 people who were shot in Philadelphia during the first five days of July, according to police statistics. The grim statistic contributed to the torrent of killings that have plagued the city and now has Philadelphia recording its worst year in history for homicides.
The gunfire cutting through his own office has only reminded Street of what he and other political and community leaders say they are determined to fix.
“Hopefully this will move my colleagues to take steps to address the gun violence that exists,” Street said. “I certainly support laws addressing guns, but there’s so many other things that we can do that we should do. We can fund programs to address the social determinants of violence.”
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner — who was widely criticized for saying the city was not in the midst of a violent crime crisis last week before apologizing for his comments Monday — was the first to call Street after the shooting, he said.
Though Krasner made a “stupid statement,” Street said the district attorney was committed to fighting back against the gun violence crisis.