PHILADELPHIA - More than a dozen Philadelphia and state leaders came together on Wednesday to address the "ongoing gun violence crisis" in Philadelphia as the city neared 500 murders for the year.
According to the latest data from the Philadelphia Police Department, the city currently sits at 499 homicides in 2021 which is a rise of 13 percent from this point last year. The tragic rise in deadly violence has included children, teens and a meaningful jump in crimes against women.
Earlier this month, FOX 29's Steve Keeley reported a 150% increase in violent crime against women from 24 to 60. Since then, Philadelphia's deadly crime against women added two more tragic victims, including the fatal shootings of a 24-year-old woman who was walking with her children and a pregnant woman returning home from her baby shower.
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"I'm personally heartbroken and outraged that we lost 500 Philadelphians, including many of our children and teenagers to needless violence this year," Kenney said. "I never stop thinking about the victims and their families and the incredible loss these senseless death leave behind."
Kenney, a Democrat, called for tighter gun laws to combat the scourge of gun deaths and crimes. The second-term mayor said the Philadelphia Police Department is expected to remove over 6,000 crime guns this year; a 40% increase in two years.
"The volume of guns that are in circulation in our communities is at a record-high," Kenney said. "[Crime guns] join a sea of illegal and legal guns that are accessible in the heat of the moment, turning what could have stayed an argument into a homicide."
Kenney recapped his administration's efforts to strong-arm the Pennsylvania legislature into allowing the city to enact tougher gun regulation, including a 2020 lawsuit to "regulate guns in the city." He pointed to the stricter gun laws in nearby New Jersey and east coast cities like Boston and New York that he claims have helped reduce gun deaths.
Kenney closed his remarks by turning his ire towards the Republican-controlled state legislature, accusing them of profiting from gun sales and not caring how many people die.
"There are people making money selling these guns, making these guns and the legislature don't care, they don't care how many people get killed. It's ridiculous." Kenney quipped.
He recalled the deadly Jefferson Hospital shooting as an example of a time when Philadelphia police officers have been outgunned by a rogue shooter. In early Oct., police say 43-year-old Stacey Hayes used an AR-15 to shoot and kill a co-worker at the hospital, then engaged in a gun battle with police near Fairmount Park that injured two officers.
"The guy had an AR-15 with three clips, he was in his third clip, shooting at our officers," Kenney said. "Now if you want to be on the legislature in Pennsylvania and say that you support police, you support law enforcement, then get the guns off the street and stop our officers from being shot at."
A day before Thanksgiving, Commissioner Danielle Outlaw pointed to the generational impact that the "unconscionable" gun violence deaths have caused.
"On it's own 500 lives cuts short is a staggering number, but as I said, what this number will truly never show is the thousands of other lives impacted by sudden and tragic loss," Outlaw said. "We deserve better, our children deserve better, out community deserves better."