PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A motorcyclist died over the weekend after being shot by a Cadillac driver in the heart of Philadelphia’s historic area after a group of bikers blocked the driver’s way, according to Philadelphia police.
The Saturday night shooting steps from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, the nation’s birthplace, focused new attention on the gun violence plaguing the city and the nation. Police believe the driver and the biker group traded fire, but they are not yet sure who fired first, a spokesperson said.
“Unfortunately, our country’s gun problem means disputes can turn deadly, needlessly cutting young lives short,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a social media post, attributing the violence to a road rage dispute.
The 36-year-old driver, who has not been identified, was shot in the arm and took himself to a hospital, where he was treated before being released Sunday, police spokeswoman Tanya Little said. No charges have been filed, but the shooting remains under investigation. Police identified the motorcycle rider as 29-year-old Angel Luis Rios of the city’s Frankford section. He was shot twice in the torso and pronounced dead at a nearby hospital just before 9:30 p.m.
Before police arrived, National Park Service rangers who patrol the historic area briefly detained a 24-year-old man who allegedly fired at the Cadillac. City homicide investigators are now in charge of the case. Little did not know when a decision on charges would be made.
“We are grateful to the Philadelphia Police Department who responded quickly to the situation and kept it from escalating,” the mayor said. The shooting occurred on a warm summer evening in an area dotted with cobblestone streets that is popular with tourists, residents and restaurant goers, many of whom dine outside. It was just one of a spate of shootings across the city over the weekend. In north Philadelphia, a 39-year-old man was shot five times and died shortly after 5 a.m. Sunday. Two other men were also critically wounded by gunshots. Police called all three men the victims of a triple shooting.