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Police Report Eight Teenagers Injured in Shooting at Philadelphia Bus Stop

A horrifying incident unfolded in Philadelphia as eight high school students were shot and wounded while waiting for a public bus after school on Wednesday. This disturbing act of violence is part of a recent spate of shootings in the city that has sent shockwaves throughout the community, leaving many questioning the safety of their neighborhoods and schools. The students, all attending Northeast High School, were targeted as they stood at a bus stop near a Dunkin’ Donuts just over half a mile from their school. According to Kevin J. Bethel, the Philadelphia police commissioner, the attack took place around 3 p.m. when three individuals emerged from a nearby car and opened fire on the unsuspecting students, unleashing a barrage of at least 30 gunshots.

The victims, aged between 15 and 17, were left with gunshot wounds, with one student in critical condition after being struck multiple times. In a shocking twist of events, two buses passing by were also hit by gunfire, although fortunately, no passengers were injured, as confirmed by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. The tragic incident occurred following a string of shootings targeting young people in Philadelphia over the past few days, revealing a disturbing trend of violence plaguing the city.

In a separate incident earlier this week, an Air Force veteran, Richard Butler, lost his life in West Philadelphia after being shot inside his car. The senseless violence continued with a fatal shooting on a SEPTA bus, where a man was killed during a confrontation. The unsettling pattern of gun violence culminated in the recent attack on the high school students, prompting authorities to express their outrage and determination to address the escalating crisis.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Kevin J. Bethel condemned the recent wave of violence as “unacceptable” and called for swift action to apprehend those responsible for the heinous acts. The city’s school district superintendent, Tony B. Watlington Sr., expressed deep sorrow over the incident, emphasizing the need for immediate support and counseling for the traumatized students. Watlington described the shooting as “horrific” and “unconscionable,” echoing the sentiments of a community reeling from the senseless violence.

As authorities grapple with the escalating gun violence in Philadelphia, SEPTA Transit Police Chief Charles Lawson announced plans to intensify efforts to combat fare evasion, drug use, and illegal gun possession on and around public transportation. The recent shootings have prompted a renewed focus on addressing underlying issues contributing to the spike in violent crime, particularly gun-related offenses.

Despite a decrease in overall crime rates, gun violence remains a persistent challenge for law enforcement in Philadelphia. With 55 homicides recorded this year, officials are determined to tackle the root causes of gun-related incidents and work towards creating safer communities for residents. As the city grapples with the aftermath of yet another tragic shooting, the urgent need for comprehensive solutions to address the epidemic of gun violence has become increasingly apparent.

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Forest Lawn Drive now free of RV encampment and parking

Nancy Sexton was thrilled when city crews cleared out more than 50 RVs in December that had been parked near her business for months, blocking parking spots and leaving behind trash and waste on Forest Lawn Drive.

Then she realized the long stretch of road near Barham Boulevard in the Hollywood Hills was suddenly off limits for not just parked RVs, but all parked vehicles. Much of the curb was painted red. No parking signs lined the sidewalk.

“It’s a dumb decision,” said Sexton, who owns the Muse Rooms, which offers leased office spaces. “It’s frustrating.”

The more than 50 RVs, which had been stationed along the winding road for months as a semi-permanent living encampment, were removed in December as part of the city’s operation known as Inside Safe. One goal of the program, which is part of Mayor Karen Bass’ initiative to bring people living on the streets indoors, is to end the cycle of homeless encampments being cleared by the city only to return a few weeks later.

But days after the RVs were removed, Sexton said, the curb was painted red and parking was limited. The new red zone is about a quarter mile long, running between Warner Bros. Studios’ Gate 9 entrance and North Coyote Canyon Drive.

The areas that do allow parking, meanwhile, have two-hour limits.

City officials also said the decision to restrict parking was done out of fire safety concerns, not to keep the RVs from resettling along the road. Sexton has her doubts.

The lack of parking along the street suddenly imposed a new, unexpected expense on her clients, prompting some to look elsewhere. The red curb has also become an irritation for some students and workers at the New York Film Academy and businesses nearby.

A road with RVs lining its right side.

RVs are parked on Forest Lawn Drive on June 27, 2023, in Burbank.

(David McNew/Getty Images)

Since the no-parking signs went up, Sexton said, she’s lost two regular members and two potential clients. All of them had aired concern about the lack of street parking and the added expense of paying $12 a day at the parking structure on site.

The parking fee, Sexton said, doubled the monthly costs for some members.

“I didn’t know how much of a problem it was going to be until there were people saying, ‘I can’t pay $12 a day,’ ” she said. “I’m really feeling it now.”

The situation highlights some of the unintended results as city officials look to address homelessness and the concerns of businesses and homeowners affected by makeshift encampments, whether they involve tents, vehicles, or both.

RV encampments have sprung up across the city amid a housing crisis that has left many people priced out of permanent homes. Local officials have looked for ways to address the issue, including new regulations that have targeted overnight RV parking.

According to the mayor’s office, the Inside Safe program has addressed 39 encampments so far, moving more than 2,400 people into interim housing and an additional 440 into permanent housing since December 2022.

Bass spokesperson Zach Seidl said the RVs that were removed from Forest Lawn Drive were themselves causing parking issues in the area, as well as raising other significant safety and public health concerns.

Members of the surrounding community have said removing the RVs “has helped on all three fronts,” Seidl said in a statement. “This operation has saved lives.

Stella Stahl, spokesperson for Councilmember Nithya Raman, said the city has helped many of the RV residents along Forest Lawn Drive to find housing indoors.

In a statement, Stahl credited the decision to limit parking to a request by the Los Angeles Fire Department, which called the area a “high fire severity zone.” A 2019 brush fire in the area burned more than 30 acres and threatened homes and businesses.

In a Sept. 19, 2023, letter, LAFD Assistant Chief Dean Zipperman asked the city Department of Transportation to install “Tow Away No Stopping Any Time” restrictions on the road due to the stopped and parked vehicles there.

To avoid the hassle of looking for parking, cinematography students Sanchin Vinay, Yifan Xiang, and Davide Picci carpool to their classes at the New York Film Academy, which shares a building with the Muse Rooms. Eliminating the RVs has opened some spots to them, although Picci said they’d been able to find spaces on the street before — “really far down.”

A couch on a sidewalk near an RV.

The curb along Forest Lawn Drive, where someone has left a couch.

(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

Sometimes they pay the $12 for the daily parking to avoid being late for class. Carpooling helps cushion the cost.

Leslie Bates, a film production instructor, said she heard of students and faculty members having “volatile” interactions with the RV residents.

Now that the RVs have

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