PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner became emotional Monday morning as he recapped a number of violent incidents over the weekend.
Among those incidents was a shooting that left a 1-year-old boy injured after he was shot while in his mother's arms inside a West Philadelphia convenience store.
About 10 minutes into Monday's press conference, Krasner began highlighting statistics surrounding recent incidents, and the 304 homicides the city has seen through July 19 – a 33% increase over the same date last year.
He then moved on to summarize some of the violent incidents that occurred over the weekend that left at least four people dead. After detailing Friday's quintuple shooting that left a man dead, Krasner moved on to a shooting from Saturday evening that injured a small child.
"On Saturday evening at around 8 p.m., an approximately 1-year-old child was shot one time in his left leg at 50th and Haverford," Krasner began as he became emotional. "He was taken to CHOP and placed in stable condition."
Krasner went on to add that the shooting also left a 26-year-old man injured after he too was shot one time.
He went on to summarize the rest of the weekend's incidents, which included a number of shootings that injured multiple people.
Later in the press conference, Krasner was asked about the impact those shootings, particularly the ones involving children, have on him.
"I think everybody in Philadelphia is impacted. I'm a Philadelphia, I think we're all impacted by the injustice of children suffering wounds. Children who have done nothing to deserve any of it. Being placed in harm's way," Krasner said, again pausing to seemingly gather his emotions. "It is an indictment of where our society has gotten, the policies that we have pursued, the way we have moved forward."
The district attorney then turned his attention toward city leadership for 'steps' he says they have not taken.
"This city, for more than two-and-a-half years, has not been listening when this office said over and over and over 'forensics, forensics,'" Krasner said. "There are things that can be done with DNA right now that could have been done a year ago, two years ago, with DNA – and can be done right now there are things that should've, could've been done with cellular telephone technology that help to solve shootings.
Krasner noted that the city is dealing with a situation where 'in good times' only 20% of shootings are being solved by police.
"We are talking about the DA asking for money for the Philadelphia police to have better forensics so they are able to solve more cases, so they have tools they need.
Krasner says that solve rate went down during the pandemic and the rate for solving homicides 'lurks below 50%' for most of the pandemic.
"If this city is not going to lead on what can be done in terms of enforcement, then we're just going to have to keep talking about it. We're going to have to keep banging this drum until it breaks. We need real resources for cutting-edge forensics," he added.
A tweet from the 18th District Police Captain Monday morning quoted a block captain saying, "We’re scared. They keep getting locked up and getting right back out."
When asked about that issue, Krasner said despite their requests for close to $1 million, bail commissioners set the average bail for a gun violence case at $262,000 and offenders only need to pay 10%.
"For a person that can get a bail bondsmen or bail person I should say it’s only taking about 8 grand to get out. No, it’s not good enough. We need to get rid of cash bail completely," he said.
Krasner also demanded police invest in forensics, specifically DNA analyses of evidence related to gun violence.
A spokesperson for police says the city’s new budget includes $5 million for their forensic office but says those DNA enhancements require more lab space and staffing increases and training takes at least a year so it’s not practical for this one-year funding.
"We’ve seen some real progress on prevention thank goodness we needed it. We now we need to see some real progress on forensics," Krasner said.