THE DISC jockey sat in his SUV Sunday afternoon and shook his head as cops removed yellow crime-scene tape that had cordoned off the block in Brewerytown where a half-deflated pink balloon, tied to a house railing, bounced pathetically on the sidewalk.
Just 12 hours earlier, about 2:30 a.m., the DJ had been winding down his gig, playing just the right party songs for a woman known only as Kia who was celebrating her 25th birthday inside her home on Thompson Street near Hollywood. Suddenly, a man, who apparently hadn't been invited, took out a gun and started to pump bullets into partygoers who hovered outside. Three men and two women in their 20s were shot. All remain in area hospitals.
"I heard about eight shots," said the 22-year-old DJ, who requested anonymity. "He shot into a crowd of people. It sounded like a small gun, but he was very close."
The DJ, who lives in Germantown, didn't know what led to the shooting.
"You never know what can happen. That's with everything in life," he said. "You've just got to be as careful as possible ... This isn't the first time this happened."
In his five years as a DJ, he's done about 300 parties, and this is the fourth shooting that's occurred outside one of the shindigs.
"I've lived in Philadelphia all my life and I've heard gunshots too many times to count," he said. "There are just a lot of guns on the street and a lot of senseless violence."
No one answered the door Sunday where the party had been held, but drops of blood stained the concrete and police-drawn white chalk circles were on the street.
A 25-year-old man with a bullet wound in his abdomen was in critical condition at Temple University Hospital. A 25-year-old woman, shot in the buttocks and right foot, was in guarded condition there. A 25-year-old man, shot in the left thigh, was in stable condition at Hahnemann University Hospital, as were a 25-year-old woman shot in the right thigh and a 24-year-old man struck in the left thigh and groin. Police had made no arrests as of Sunday night.
The neighborhood is an eclectic mix of young to middle-age professionals, families with small children and a few young men who hang on nearby corners near rows of boarded homes. The corner store, Jaer Grocery, has a sign taped to the door: "No Weapons Allowed. Detection Devices on Premises."
Asked about the shooting, a 57-year-old mother of 10 who wanted to be known only as a "Jesus Lover," said: "It's sickening. Just sickening. There are no jobs and these boys have nothing to do.
“The government puts these guns out here. They make it easy to get," she said, as she bought children sandwiches and candy at the store.
A half-block up Hollywood Street, 5- and 6-year-old girls were prancing in water from an open fire hydrant as they clutched dolls and pushed a pink toy stroller. Their aunt, Patricia Rice, watched from the steps. "When I see police, that's the only time I feel safe," she said.
The Hollywood Street block captain, James Waters, 58, took a break on his front porch after sweeping the street clean.
"It's a random thing that happened," he said. "We had a block party two weeks ago and there were no problems, no arguments, no guns ... It could have happened anywhere. The person who did this probably wasn't even invited." n
Contact Barbara Laker at 215-854-5933 or [email protected] or follow on Twitter @barbaralaker.
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