Editor's note: Police Commissioner Richard Ross said there has been a large increase in 2019 in the number of arrests for illegal gun possession, and that his department is looking at correlations between the violence and the increase.
A graduation party in Southwest Philadelphia turned into a mass shooting scene Sunday when a gunman opened fire at the crowded park barbecue.
One person was killed and five others were hurt during the spray of bullets in the park off 70th Street near Reed Bird Place just after 10 p.m. The gunman, who remains on the loose, was standing with two other men in a parking lot near the party when he began firing "indiscriminately," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said.
A bullet struck 24-year-old Isiaka Meite in the back, police said. He died a short time later at the hospital. Another 24-year-old, a 15-year-old boy, a 16-year-old girl and two 16-year-old boys were also shot, police said.
No motive was immediately known.
"There are people who are trying to go about their lives, minding their own business, and people just fire guns because they have nothing better to do or they don't have the God-given sense not to do something like that," Ross said. "And it's frustrating beyond belief."
Those wounded at the party were shot in their extremities and in stable condition, police said.
No arrests have been made and police have not yet released a description of the shooter. Police found multiple private surveillance cameras and they are working to retrieve the video.
Meite's family told NBC10 he was going to school to support his mother and five younger sisters. They believe he was an innocent bystander.
"He was a good guy," Meite's cousin, Yousef Toure, said. "Worked hard. Taking care of his family and going to school."
The party shooting was one of several in Philadelphia during a violent weekend. In all, 23 shootings occurred with 32 victims and six homicides.
Mayor Jim Kenney on Monday blamed the mindset of people who carry guns and the ease with which those people can get weapons for the numerous shootings.
"I've been to many graduation parties. I’ve never thought about bringing a gun to a graduation party," Kenney told reporters. "I don’t frankly have the answer to changing that mindset, other than continuing to invest in the things we invest in to make people’s lives better to make them make choices that aren’t horrible choices to make."
Monday night, a group led by city councilman Kenyatta Johnson marched through the neighborhood, going door-to-door and asking for people to speak up.
"I just want to stop violence because it's upsetting and parents keep losing their children," Dellsean Williams, of the No Mo Foundation, said.
In response to the weekend violence, Senator Anthony Williams is asking Gov. Tom Wolf to declare a State of Emergency. Philadelphia police are also adding patrols and overtime while reevaluating the areas they'll cover.
"We have to figure out what's happening, why it's happening and figure what we're trying to do as a collective city," Commissioner Ross said.
If you have any information on the shootings, please call Philadelphia police.