Police have made arrests in two separate weekend shootings that left six people dead and at least 25 injured in Philadelphia and Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Police on Thursday arrested two suspects in connection to the Saturday night shooting on a crowded downtown Philadelphia street, where three people were killed at at least 11 were injured.
Qaadir Dukes-Hill, 18, and Nahjee Whittington, 17, are both facing murder and weapons-related charges, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.
Alexis Quinn, 24, and Kristopher Minners, 22, died after police say Dukes-Hill and Whittington fired randomly into a crowd after hearing gunshots down the block. Minners, a residential adviser at Girard College, had been celebrating his birthday on the night of the shooting.
Dukes-Hill was charged in connection to Quinn’s death, and Whittington was charged in connection Minners’ death, the district attorney said. Whittington also faces aggravated assault and other charges related to a non-fatal shooting of another bystander.
District Attorney Larry Krasner said he plans to try Whittington as an adult, as Whittington turns 18 this week.
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The shooting began when a fistfight between three men turned into an exchange of gunfire about a block away from where Dukes-Hill and Whittington were, police said Thursday.
“We have what started out as an unfair fistfight – two people attacking one person,” Krasner said. “In a country where you have some 300 million people and 500 million guns, it went from fists to bullets very, very quickly.”
Police say Gary Jackson, 34, was the first to pull out his gun before shooting a man. Officials say that man, who was hospitalized in critical condition, fired back at Jackson, killing him. Jackson was one of the three people who died in the melee.
Krasner said he does not expect the man who returned Jackson’s gunfire to be charged because he appeared to be acting in self-defense.
The district attorney’s office said investigators believe all of the other gunmen involved are now in custody.
Police said five guns were fired during the shooting, and two handguns were recovered at the scene, as well as “numerous” shell casings littering the area lined with busy shops, bars and restaurants.
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First arrest in Chattanooga nightclub shooting
Meanwhile in Chattanooga, Tennessee, authorities were still searching for the multiple suspects in a fatal nightclub shooting early Sunday that left three dead and 14 wounded.
On Wednesday, they charged a man police say owned the gun that was used. Federal agents arrested Garrian King on Wednesday on charges of illegal possession of a firearm as a convicted felon, the US Department of Justice announced.
Surveillance video before the shooting showed three people, including one person later identified as King, exiting a stolen blue Chevy Suburban before the shooting, according to court documents. King admitted to officers that he owned the rifle used in the shooting after buying it in May, court documents say.
After his initial court appearance Wednesday, King was detained without bond, the Department of Justice said.
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At a Sunday news conference, Chattanooga Police Chief Celeste Murphy said there were multiple shooters who opened fire but that the shooting was being considered an isolated incident.
While 14 of the injured people were hit by gunfire, Murphy said three were hit by vehicles during a scramble to flee the scene. She said two people died from gunshot wounds, and one person died after being hit by a vehicle.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Chattanooga Police Department were investigating.
Contributing: The Associated Press
Contact News Now Reporter Christine Fernando at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @christinetfern.