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On US Independence Day, Biden denounces ‘wave’ of shootings

5 injured in Lansing, 4 hurt in Charlotte yesterday

By AFP - Jul 05,2023 - Last updated at Jul 05,2023

US President Joe Biden speaks to the National Education Association Annual Representative Assembly virtually from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC, Tuesday (AFP photo)

WASHINGTON — As Americans across the country marked the Independence Day celebration on Tuesday, President Joe Biden called for stricter gun control measures while denouncing a "wave" of shootings ahead of the holiday.

Five people were killed in a shooting in the city of Philadelphia Monday night, with two children injured, according to police and media reports. Another shooting overnight in Fort Worth, Texas, claimed the lives of three and injured eight, CNN reported.

And as of Tuesday afternoon, the country had already seen multiple shootings on Independence Day. Five were injured in Lansing, Michigan, and four hurt in Charlotte, North Carolina, according to the Gun Violence Archive (GVA).

Another shooting in Akron, Ohio, which police responded to in the early morning hours of Tuesday, left four injured, according to local media.

"Over the last few days, our nation has once again endured a wave of tragic and senseless shootings in communities across America," Biden said in a statement, mentioning the shootings in Philadelphia, Fort Worth, and Lansing, as well as recent instances of gun violence in Baltimore, Wichita, Kansas and Chicago.

"As our nation celebrates Independence Day, we pray for the day when our communities will be free from gun violence," the president said.

At a Fourth of July parade last year in Highland Park, Illinois, just outside Chicago, a gunman killed seven and wounded dozens. This year, the suburb planned a remembrance ceremony in lieu of a parade and traditional festivities, officials said.

"In mere moments, this day of patriotic pride became a scene of pain and tragedy," Biden said in reference to the shooting's anniversary.

In Philadelphia, police said they had apprehended the shooter, though his motive remained unknown.

"We have absolutely no idea why this happened," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said.

The suspect was wearing a bulletproof vest and was armed with a rifle and a handgun.

In Fort Worth, meanwhile, no arrests had been reported as of Tuesday afternoon.

"I am devastated by the news of a mass shooting in Fort Worth last night," Mayor Mattie Parker said on Twitter. "My heart breaks for the victims."

There have been at least 346 mass shootings in the United States this year, according to the GVA’s archive. The GVA defines a mass shooting as a gun-related incident in which at least four or more people are wounded or killed.

More than 44,000 people were killed by guns last year, with about 24,000 of them by suicide.

“Much more must be done... to address the epidemic of gun violence that is tearing our communities apart,” Biden said, praising gun control measures passed in Illinois after the Highland Park attack.

“I urge other states to follow Illinois’ lead, and continue to call upon Republican lawmakers in Congress to come to the table on meaningful, commonsense reforms that the American people support.”

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