Nutter declares parkway party a success, despite gunfire

This was the chaotic scene about 10 p.m. Wednesday on the Ben Franklin Parkway between 16th and 17th streets after three teens were shot near 17th and JFK Boulevard. JULIE SHAW / DAILY NEWS STAFF
This was the chaotic scene about 10 p.m. Wednesday on the Ben Franklin Parkway between 16th and 17th streets after three teens were shot near 17th and JFK Boulevard. JULIE SHAW / DAILY NEWS STAFF
Posted: July 06, 2012

DESPITE TWO teens getting shot near the half-million-strong crowd on Benjamin Franklin Parkway for the city's Fourth of July festivities, Mayor Nutter said Thursday that this year's concert-and-fireworks celebration was successful.

"I'm not gonna let some little asshole 16-year-old who had a beef with somebody a month ago up in Germantown negatively impact the image of the city," Nutter said, adding that most of the people enjoying the festivities were unaware of the shootings.

About 9:30 p.m. on July 4, as hordes of people converged on Center City, gunfire erupted near 17th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard, police said, leaving two males — one 19 and another 17 — hospitalized with gunshot wounds to their legs.

Cops witnessed the shooting and chased the 16-year-old boy who police said is the shooter. They caught up with him about a block away, where cops said he pulled a gun and pointed it at an officer, prompting the officer to fire back.

The alleged shooter, identified by police as Nafis Scott, of Price Street near Germantown Avenue, in East Germantown, remained at Hahnemann University Hospital Thursday in stable condition with a graze wound to his chest. Police said that Scott will face two counts of aggravated assault, assault on police, illegal gun charges and related offenses.

Nutter and police officials blamed the shooting on a neighborhood dispute among teens from Germantown and said that the groups clashed at LOVE Park Wednesday night.

Scott and one of the males he allegedly shot were taken to Hahnemann where, cops said, tensions boiled over. Police said a man who claimed to be the brother of one of the wounded teens pulled a gun — possibly a fake one — on someone inside the ER. Police said that that man, who remained unidentified Thursday, was arrested by Highway Patrol officers about 10 minutes after he made the threat.

In all, officials said that there were nine arrests during the Parkway celebrations, most for disorderly conduct.

"By anyone's evaluation or estimates, that certainly demonstrates that a vast, vast, vast majority of the people came to the Parkway and other areas of the city just to have a good time, not to create a disruption," Nutter said.

Asked about revelers' safety at Philadelphia's upcoming Labor Day Weekend concerts organized by rapper Jay-Z, both Nutter and Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said that they haven't decided on any modifications to the event or the gathering space.

"There's no guarantee of anything in life, but we certainly can take all steps that we need to take to ensure the safety of everyone and that everyone enjoys themselves," Ramsey said.

Nutter stressed that Wednesday night's shooting had nothing to do with the celebration on the Parkway.

"The better question would have been, ‘Why does a 16-year-old have a gun?' " he said in response to a question about changing celebrations to prevent violence. "It's about personal responsibility. It's about personal behavior. Everyone else came down just to have a good time. One person out of a half-million decided not to, did something really stupid, they're now in custody." n

Contact Morgan Zalot at 215-854-5928 or zalotm@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @morganzalot.

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