At least five people were killed during an especially violent weekend, with three of the victims murdered over less than an hour early yesterday morning.
"It's a different world – people just don't care about other people," said 73-year-old Millie Greenwich, who until recently lived near the site of one of the shootings. "These kids don't have jobs, they don't have money, but they have guns."
The violence began on Saturday, when police arrested 23-year-old Lashay Patterson and her live-in boyfriend, 25-year-old Christian Patrick, for allegedly killing Patterson's five-year-old son.
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Patterson found her 5-year-old son Dashawn Harris unconscious early Saturday morning inside the home she shared with Patrick on the 600 block of North 13th Street, police said.
The child was rushed by medics to Hahnemann University Hospital, where he died shortly before 1:30 a.m. He suffered burns and bruises to his body, according to investigators.
Patterson and Patrick were arrested on Saturday for their alleged involvement in Dashawn's death. The two were each arraigned around 8 p.m. and charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, endangering the welfare of children, possessing an instrument of crime and reckless endangerment.
The bloodshed continued into Saturday night. Police said a 17-year-old was fatally shot in the head on the 2000 block of South Croskey Street near 22nd and McKean streets in the Girard Park section of South Philadelphia shortly before 11 p.m. His identity has not yet been released. Police are reportedly searching for two suspects in connection with the slaying.
A homicide suspect is in custody for a shooting in West Philadelphia early Sunday morning.
Investigators said 20-year-old Victor Rodriguez was shot once in the head following an argument with another man on the 300 block of South 52nd Street near Spruce Street and died at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania shortly before 3 a.m.
The alleged shooter was arrested by an off-duty Chester City police officer, according to authorities. His identity has not yet been released pending the filing of formal charges.
A woman was killed behind the wheel of an SUV in the Allegheny West section of North Philadelphia around the same time.
Police said the victim, 45, was shot multiple times inside her 2000 GMC Yukon on 27th Street near Clearfield Street. She drove for about a block to West Indiana Avenue, where she crashed her car into the corner of the John G. Whittier Elementary School. The woman, whose identity has not yet been released, died at Temple University Hospital shortly before 3:30 a.m. No arrests have yet been made.
Greenwich only recently left the neighborhood after moving there in 1963. "It's gotten worse," she said. "When my kids grew up, they went to this school," she gestured to Whittier, where mangled car parts were piled next to shreds of police tape. "The playgrounds, every summer there was something going on with someone to watch them. There were more things to do. Now, it's just kids having kids and these guns – they're everywhere." She likened the violent crime epidemic in Philadelphia to "genocide in the African American community."
A man was shot and killed in Nicetown around 3:40 a.m. Police said the victim, 35, was shot once in the neck on the 1600 block of Hunting Park Avenue and died at Albert Einstein Medical Center. His name has not yet been released and no arrests have been made.
The latest deaths brings the city's homicide total to 305 for the year, up from 303 on the same date in 2011 and represents a more than eight percent jump from the 282 victims killed on this date in both 2009 and in 2010.