Rival 'factions' of 'young people' exchange gunfire in crowd of 1,000 gathered for Muslim celebration in Philadelphia: Police

A celebration near a Philadelphia park to mark the end of Ramadan, a month of daily fasting for Muslims, turned violent when members of rival “factions” began shooting at one other despite the crowd.

On Wednesday afternoon, an estimated 1,000 people gathered in and around Clara Muhammad Square in West Philadelphia for an Eid al-Fitr event. Families put up tents as people of all ages, including babies, enjoyed the beautiful spring day together.

Suddenly, around 2:30 p.m., people at the event began shooting at one another. Some police officers happened to be issuing parking tickets at a nearby gas station when the gunfire erupted. The officers guessed that 30 shots were fired, sending the celebration attendees into a panic.

“I just saw everybody just running and frantic,” recalled one witness. “The kids, people’s strollers getting turned over, everybody screaming.”

“Everybody just ran away like it was an elephant stampede.”

A total of four people were reportedly injured as a result of the incident. Nhashon “Tawfiq” Richards, 22, was shot in the stomach during the exchange of gunfire. His father, Corey Taylor, said that while Richards is stable and alert, he will likely need surgery.

Two teens suffered gunshot wounds as well. One teen who attended the event arrived at the hospital with a gunshot wound to the hand, likely during the incident, and is in stable condition.

Then, a 15-year-old boy who was reportedly carrying a rifle was shot in the shoulder and leg by a police officer after he allegedly ignored two commands to drop his weapon. After the officer discharged her weapon, she quickly corralled the boy into her police cruiser and drove him to the hospital. His is now in stable condition, and his weapon was reportedly recovered. The officer has been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation into the shooting.

Finally, a 15-year-old girl attempting to flee the area suffered a broken leg when she was accidentally struck by a police vehicle. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel claimed that members of the department have offered their prayers for her continued healing and will soon visit with the girl’s family.

Thankfully, despite the number of shots fired and the chaos that ensued, there were no fatalities.

Though Police Commissioner Bethel is grateful there were not more casualties, he is frustrated that a happy event attended mainly by “good people who wanted to have a good time” was spoiled by “two factions” who were “beefing and going at each other.”

“Once again, we have young people engaging in gunfire who just really destroyed the sanctity of what happened,” he claimed.

Corey Taylor, the father of shooting victim Tawfiq Richards, also condemned the unnecessary violence. He claimed people need to “stop hating one another over what someone else got or dislike over a female or some type of hood affiliation or whatever.

“It’s stupid. And it’s nonsense,” Taylor continued. “People’s lives are priceless. Appreciate and value your life.”

Police arrested a total of five individuals, including the 15-year-old allegedly with the rifle, in connection with the incident. Four other males and one female were apprehended as they attempted to escape the area. Police reportedly confiscated a total of four weapons.

Bethel cautioned that the details he shared at the press conference are preliminary and subject to “change.” An investigation into the incident remains ongoing.

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