Two people are in custody in connection to the mass shooting that killed three people and wounded 11 others on South Street in Philadelphia over the weekend.
Quran Garner, 18, was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of aggravated assault on law enforcement officers.
Police and U.S. Marshals also arrested a second suspect in the shooting, 34-year-old Rashaan Vereen, Monday around 7:30 p.m. along the 2300 block of Hemberger Street. Vereen is charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, conspiracy, violation of the uniforms firearms act, possession of an instrument of crime, tampering of evidence and obstruction of justice.
Neighbors told NBC10 Vereen is a youth boxing coach and described him as "friendly" and "helpful."
Vereen and his friend, 34-year-old Gregory Jackson, were walking along the 400 block of South Street on Saturday around 11:30 p.m. when they walked by another man, identified by officials as Micah Towns.
Investigators said words were exchanged between the men. Jackson and Vereen then attacked Towns in a confrontation that was caught on video, according to officials.
In the video, Jackson was wearing a white t-shirt, Vereen was wearing what appeared to be a blue jacket or long-sleeved shirt and Towns was wearing a black or dark-colored shirt, investigators said.
Jackson, who had a permit to carry, then pulled out a gun and shot Towns, investigators said.
Towns, who also has a permit to carry, pulled out his own weapon and fired back at Jackson and Vereen as they ran away. Jackson was shot at least once and fell to the ground while Vereen stayed with him.
Between Jackson and Towns, 17 shots were fired, according to the District Attorney's Office.
Vereen stayed with Jackson after the shooting and told responding officers he was his friend, officials said.
At the same time, police said Quran Garner, a friend of Towns, was walking nearby on South Street. Garner allegedly pulled out his own weapon and fired toward Jackson and Vereen. Garner then turned and aimed at police, investigators said. Garner's weapon was a ghost gun with an extended magazine, according to officials.
An officer then fired and shot Garner in the hand. Garner then ran down American Street, shouting, “He shot my hand off! He shot my hand off,” investigators said.
Garner then approached police on 4th and Bainbridge streets where another shooting occurred an hour earlier and told them he had been shot. Garner was then taken to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and later charged in the shooting.
Vereen at some point left the scene of the shooting.
Jackson died from his injuries while Towns was taken to Penn Presbyterian Hospital where he is in critical condition.
Investigators have not yet determined a motive for the initial fight between Jackson, Vereen and Towns. They revealed during an afternoon press conference that Towns, like Vereen, is also involved in boxing though they were unsure if that played a role in Saturday's altercation.
They continue to investigate and search through surveillance video.
Besides Jackson, two other people, who police say were innocent bystanders, were killed during the shootings on South Street, including Kris Minners, a 22-year-old advisor for 2nd and 6th grade boys at Girard College, one of Philadelphia's oldest educational institutions.
Minners had been celebrating his birthday with family and friends on South Street prior to the shooting, according to Girard College's Interim President James Turner. Alexis Quinn, 24, was the third person killed in the shooting.
Eleven people were also wounded by the dozens of rounds of bullets sprayed into a massive crowd gathered near 2nd and 3rd streets in the area popular for its bars, restaurants and nightclubs.
The 11 shooting victims who survived were a 17-year-old boy; two 18-year-old men; two 20-year-old men; three men aged 23, 43 and 69; two 17-year-old girls; and a 19-year-old woman. Their medical conditions ranged from stable to critical, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said.
On Monday, crime scene investigators and members of the District Attorney's office remained along South Street, which had been shut down from 6th Street to Front Street since the incident shortly before midnight Saturday.
Several businesses on South Street captured the shootings on surveillance video, and police were attempting to gather the images to aid their investigation. Anyone with additional information should call the Homicide Unit at 215-686-3334.
Mass Shootings in America
At least four guns were found at the scene, including Garner's weapon, which investigators said was a ghost gun with an extended magazine.
South Street is a popular area in Philadelphia lined with restaurants, shops and bars. It is highly trafficked among both locals and tourists. Outlaw said extra officers had been deployed to the area in anticipation of larger-than-average crowds in part due to the warm weather and "several events going on in the city at one time."
"There were hundreds of individuals just enjoying South Street, as they do every weekend, when this shooting broke out," Philadelphia Police Inspector D.F. Pace said.
"I want to emphasize that South Street is manned by numerous police officers," Pace said. "This is standard deployment for Friday and Saturday night - weekends - and especially during the summer months."
Mayor Jim Kenney said there were about 70 officers in the South Street area Saturday night. The city was expecting large crowds after the Roots Picnic and Pride festival.
One of the shooting victims was 69-year-old Rusty Crowell. The South Philly resident told NBC10 he was at the bar Dobbs on South to see a friend perform when he stepped outside shortly before midnight and heard the gunshots.
Last Tuesday, video captured the moments a woman and other gunmen opened fire on the 400 block of South Street – less than two blocks away from Saturday night's shooting. One man was injured.
"Furious. I am furious, not just for my neighborhood, for the whole country. If I hear one more time ‘thoughts and prayers’ – bull---," neighbor Maureen Long said through tears. "We cannot disagree about this. We have to do something. I don't care what your political leanings are. We can't continue to let people kill people."
The Saturday shooting in Philadelphia is just the latest in a spate of mass shootings across the country.
In Buffalo, New York, a gunman killed 10 Black people and wounded three others at a supermarket in what authorities said was a racially motivated attack. In Uvalde, Texas, another gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School. In Oklahoma, a man killed four people and wounded several others inside a Tulsa medical building. In Tennessee, a shooting near a nightclub left three dead and 14 wounded.
In Philadelphia, the toll of gun violence is not reserved to isolated mass shootings.
A gun violence tracker from the city controller’s office tallied 787 nonfatal and 194 fatal shooting victims as of June 5.
Shootings have accounted for the most killings in Philadelphia this year. As of Sunday night, there were 218 homicides in Philadelphia in 2022, down four percent from the 227 seen at the same time in 2021, which was ultimately the deadliest year in the city on record.
The recent high-profile shootings have renewed calls for stricter gun control amid rising gun violence across the country.
President Joe Biden on Thursday acknowledged there is little left for him to do through executive action and called on Congress to pass legislation to tighten gun laws. While the Uvalde shooting renewed bipartisan talks about modest gun reforms, such talks have broken down in the past.
Meanwhile, legislators in Philadelphia are barred by Pennsylvania’s preemption law from enacting gun control statutes that are stricter than state laws.
"We cannot accept continued violence as a way of life in our country. Until we address the availability and ease of access to firearms, we will always be fighting an uphill battle," Kenney said in a statement. "As Mayor, I will continue to fight to protect our communities and urge others to advocate for stronger laws that keep guns out of the hands of violent individuals."
There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.