Mom of 6 among 2 women killed in shooting at illegal Philadelphia speakeasy

Two women were killed when police say a gunman opened fire into a vacant North Philadelphia building that had apparently been turned into an illegal speakeasy Thursday night.

Officers responded to an abandoned church on the 1900 block of Ridge Avenue around 7:45 p.m. for a report of a person with a gun. 

When police arrived on the scene they found two victims, 31-year-old Irene McNair and 56-year-old Constance Marshall, suffering from gunshot wounds. 

McNair had been shot in the right side of her torso, and Marshall was shot in the left armpit. Paramedics pronounced both women dead at the scene. 

Irene McNair, 31, was among two women who were fatally shot when a gunman fired into a Philadelphia speakeasy. (Photo provided by family) 

Family members tell FOX 29's Kelly Rule that Irene McNair was a mother of six children.

According to police, seven shots were fired from a semi-automatic weapon and three bullets went through the door which investigators believe was partially open. Police tell FOX 29 the building was previously used as a makeshift church but had been vacant until recently when someone turned into a speakeasy.

A spokesperson from Licensing and Inspections says they had previously received complaints that the property had been turned into an illegal speakeasy and that action was taken to close it last month. They say they conducted a joint inspection with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and issued violations and an order to cease operations. The property was also sealed up back on Oct. 14 and Licensing and Inspections say they have not received further complaints since.


Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small says officers found a running generator and alcohol at the scene when they arrived. 

"When police arrived on location, they found a generator that was actually in operation, and the generator wires were attached to the property. We found several coolers that contained cans of beer and other alcohol," Small said.

Police say a man was also inside when the shooting happened. He stayed until police got there and is cooperating. Investigators believe he may have been running the speakeasy or working there.

So far, no arrests have been made and a weapon has not been recovered. The investigation is ongoing.



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