Gun violence grips Philadelphia despite virus lockdowns, social unrest

Despite coronavirus shutdown orders and ongoing social unrest, gun violence in Philadelphia remains the scourge of the city. 

According to police, 158 of the 177 homicides in Philadelphia this year were the result of gun violence. On Tuesday night, this statistic was punctuated when six people were shot and one was killed when a gunman unloaded over 70 shots outside a home in North Philadelphia. 

Philadelphia Police Inspector Derrick Wood took to Twitter to denounce the spate of violence after his nephew, Tyshawn Woods, was senselessly gunned down in the city. 

"I know BLACK LIVES MATTER because I have lost way too many friends and family to gun violence," Wood tweeted. "My blood is on the streets. Literally."

Wood joined Good Day on Thursday to discuss how the city can simultaneously bridge racial divides and stamp out the continuous onslaught of gun violence in Philadelphia.

MORE: 1 killed, 6 others injured in North Philadelphia shooting

"We have to invest more in our youth," Wood said. He suggests helping impoverished neighborhoods, offering mentorships, and donating monetarily to low-income communities. Wood also believes it's important to share the tragic story from families impacted by gun violence through public service announcements.

"People need to look at it, not look away, because we're losing lives," Wood said. 

According to the police inspector, most of the violence that has gripped Philadelphia can be traced back to petty things such as social media posts.

"One neighborhood which is maybe like two blocks away will post a rap video saying certain things and the other group will get mad and they'll come back and they'll shoot the neighborhood up," Wood said.

With ongoing social unrest both peaceful and otherwise, the city's parade of gun violence has taken a backseat to racial tensions that have pitted the police against the African-American community. 

As a police officer, Wood believes his lived experiences as a Black man helps him weigh both sides of the divide. 

"I see both sides, I didn't become a police officer until I was 20-years-old so I got to experience being stopped by the police, being mistreated," Wood said. "Now I'm in a position where I can affect change."

Wood, like many demonstrators who took to the streets to demand reform, believes more transparency is needed in police departments across the country.

"We can't build trust if people don't trust us, don't understand what we're doing and we don't show them our policies," Wood said.

Wood and several others have organized a Brotherly Love Juneteenth silent march scheduled for next Friday at 11:30 a.m. The march will begin at 52nd and Girard and end at Malcolm X Park.


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