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Man in bulletproof vest fatally shoots 5, injures 2 in Philadelphia; suspect in custody

Five people were killed, including a 15-year-old boy, and two others were wounded in a shooting in Philadelphia Monday night, officials said. A suspect is in custody.

Initially, police said four people lost their lives but they later reported that a fifth victim had been found inside a house. All seven victims were male.

On Tuesday, officials identified the victims as 20-year-old Lashyd Merritt, 29-year-old Dymir Stanton, 59-year-old Ralph Moralis, 15-year-old Daujan Brown and 31-year-old Joseph Wamah.

The two who were wounded were 2 years old and 13 years old, authorities said. Both were in stable condition.   

The gunfire happened across four city blocks, police said.

The suspect, described as a 40-year-old male, was wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying an AR-style rifle, a handgun and a police scanner, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw told reporters. The suspect was taken into custody "without further incident" after officers who were chasing him while he was shooting caught up with him and cornered him in an alley, Outlaw said.

On Tuesday, police said the suspect, who has not been identified, has not yet been charged but charges are expected soon.

Outlaw condemned the "senseless act of violence" and vowed a thorough investigation.

"What happened last night was unimaginably disgusting and horrifying," Outlaw said.

Day after a mass shooting in the Kingsessing section of southwest Philadelphia
Police officers work at the scene the day after a shooting in the Kingsessing section of southwest Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 4, 2023. BASTIAAN SLABBERS / REUTERS

Another person, who Outlaw said returned fire at the suspect, was also taken into custody.

Outlaw said she had "absolutely no idea why this happened." It wasn't immediately clear if the victims had any connection to the shooter.

"At this point, all we know is that this person decided to leave their home and to target individuals," Outlaw said.

The initial shootings took place around 8:30 p.m. in the city's Kingsessing neighborhood, according to CBS Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small later said that an officer processing the first crime scene was approached just before 12:30 a.m. Tuesday by a man who said he'd just returned home to check on his son in a private residence in the vicinity of  where some of the earlier shootings had occurred. The father said he found his son on the living room floor and he was unresponsive.

The officer called medics, who pronounced the 31-year-old dead at the scene.

It appeared he'd been shot at least once in his face and several times in his chest/torso area, Small said, adding that investigators found roughly seven rounds in the residence.

Police believe the son was the seventh victim because of where the house was and because ballistics were the same as in the earlier shootings.

Small noted that police know there weren't any gunshots after the initial flurry because there were many officers and detectives combing the earlier crime scene when the father approached one of them and no shots were heard in the interval.

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