(Refiles to fix typo in paragraph 1 to ‘country’)
By Brendan O’Brien
(Reuters) – A Philadelphia resident arrested in one of a series of mass shootings across the country over the Fourth of July weekend was arraigned in court on Wednesday on five murder counts and other charges, online court records showed.
The suspect, identified as 40-year-old Kimbrady Carriker, made an appearance in Philadelphia County Municipal Court for an arraignment on charges that also included four counts of attempted murder plus reckless endangerment and aggravated assault charges, court records showed.
No bail was listed in online court records for the suspect. Other media, including CNN, reported bail was denied. Officials in the district attorney’s office were not immediately available for comment.
Carriker killed five and wounded two others on Monday evening, shooting them at random with an AR-15-style rifle before being taken into custody, Philadelphia officials said on Tuesday. The five males killed in the shooting ranged from 15 to 59 years old, while the injured were children aged two and 13, police said.
“We’re talking about completely innocent bystanders who did absolutely nothing to put themselves at risk and they have suffered this horrifying consequence,” District Attorney Larry Krasner said during an interview on CNN on Wednesday.
Authorities have yet to determine a motive, Krasner said, adding the suspect, who wore a bullet-proof vest and a ski mask during the shooting, may have obtained at least one of his weapons illegally.
Carriker had no apparent connection with any of the victims, who were gunned down during a long holiday weekend marred by a rash of mass shootings in a country where gun violence has become nearly commonplace.
A total of 16 mass shootings took place across the nation from Friday evening until Wednesday morning, leaving 15 dead and 94 injured, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which defines a mass shooting as any in which four or more people are wounded or killed, not including the shooter.
In Shreveport, Louisiana, four people died and seven others were wounded in a shooting at an Independence Day celebration just before midnight on Tuesday, local police said.
At least one gunman opened fire at a gathering of close to 100 people in the northwest section of the city, Shreveport police said, adding all four deceased individuals were adults.
Two people died at the scene of the shooting, a third died at a hospital and police later discovered another body in a nearby field on Wednesday morning, Sergeant Angie Willhite, an official with the Shreveport police, said.
The motive for the shooting was not known and no arrests were made as of early Wednesday, according to police.
The attacks in Louisiana and Philadelphia came after gunfire rang out on Sunday in Baltimore during a block party. Two people were killed, including an 18-year-old woman, and 28 injured in that shooting. Authorities were still hunting for suspects, pleading with the public to come forward with information on their whereabouts.
Another mass shooting occurred in Salisbury, Maryland during a block party. It left a 14-year-old boy dead and six injured.
Gun violence tends to spike over the Fourth of July holiday in the United States due to a number of factors, according to James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University.
“You have people not working and not in school. You have large gatherings, alcohol, hot weather and concealed weapons held by participants,” Fox said. “You have a dangerous situation.”
The rash of gun violence over the last several days is part of a surge in mass shootings in the United States since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
As of Wednesday, 351 mass shootings have taken place across the country so far this year. At that pace, the United States will experience 689 mass shootings in 2023, just shy of the 690 recorded in 2021, the most of any year since 2014, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Rich McKay in Atlanta and Kanishka Singh in Washington D.C.; Editing by Mark Porter and Chris Reese)
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