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Arrest warrants issued for two suspects in Philadelphia mass shooting: Prosecutor

Lokman Vural Elibol/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

(PHILADELPHIA) -- Arrest warrants were issued Monday for two suspects in a mass shooting Saturday night in Philadelphia as police continue to work to identify other gunmen in the rampage that left three people dead and 11 injured, according to prosecutors.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said at a news conference that he approved charges against two suspects "in connection to what we anticipate are non-fatal shootings."

Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore said warrants were issued for Quran Garner, who was shot by a police officer during the incident and is in custody, and a second individual, identified by U.S. Marshals as Rashaan Vereen.

The U.S. Marshals Service took Vereen into custody Monday afternoon at a home in South Philadelphia, according to ABC Philadelphia station WPVI.

Pescatore said Garner, 18, who was undergoing surgery Monday on an injured hand, is charged with two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of aggravated assault on law enforcement officers.

Vereen is charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, conspiracy, violating the uniform firearms act, possession of an instrument of crime, tampering with evidence and obstruction of justice.

Citing security video, Pescatore said the shooting erupted after one of the victims she identified as Mika Townes got into a physical confrontation with Gregory Jackson, a 34-year-old man who was killed in the shooting.

Pescatore said Townes and Jackson were passing each other on the same side of South Street when words were exchanged, setting off a melee.

"Jackson takes a swing at Mika Townes, striking him in the face," Pescatore said.

She said Vereen, who was with Jackson at the time, is seen on video allegedly getting involved in the fight.

"Mika Townes is thrown against a window while they are beating on him," Pescatore said.

She said Jackson, who had a valid permit to carry a concealed firearm, is seen on video pulling out a gun and holding it to his side. She said, Townes, who also had a concealed firearm permit, drew his gun and fired at Jackson in self-defense, killing him.

Pescatore said Vereen then allegedly shot Townes, who remains in a hospital in serious condition.

She said Garner, who was with Townes at the time, then allegedly drew a weapon and fired in the direction of where the melee occurred as police converged on the scene.

She said Garner then allegedly aimed his weapon at officers, who fired at him, striking him in the hand.

Pescatore said Garner ran from the area yelling "he shot my hand off" and police lost him in the crowd. She said Garner later approached other officers dealing with a separate shooting on Second Street, claimed he had been shot in the incident and was taken to a hospital.

Pescatore said Garner allegedly fired a Ghost gun, a non-traceable weapon, in the shooting and that it remains unclear if he hit anyone. The gun also had an extended magazine.

The unnamed suspect remained at the scene rendering medical aid to Jackson, Pescatore said.

She said the suspect gave his name and address to police and was allowed to leave the scene. It was only after investigators reviewed the video did they realize the man was involved in the shooting and was caught on video picking up Jackson's gun and giving it to an unidentified man in a blue hooded sweatshirt who fled with the weapon.

Pescatore said at least four guns -- three 9mm weapons and a .40-caliber handgun -- were involved in the shooting on Second Street, a popular nightlife area full of bars and restaurants that was crowded with hundreds of people when the shooting erupted.

She said the crime scene encompassed about a two block area.

Philadelphia police officials said officers recovered two guns from the scene, including one with an extended magazine, authorities said.

"Hour by hour we are finding out more information," Krasner said.

Krasner described witnessing a "chilling" scene when he visited the site of the shooting just hours after it occurred.

"It is no less chilling that it happened in no less than 10 places around the country in a space of a few days," said Krasner, referring to mass shootings that occurred over the weekend in nine different states that left a total of at least 17 people dead and 62 injured.

The Philadelphia shooting erupted just before midnight Saturday at the busy intersection of Third and South streets.

Inspector D.F. Pace of the Philadelphia Police Department said hundreds of people were milling about the area when the shooting caused a panic and sent people running in all directions, some diving behind cars for cover.

Investigators are combing through security video to identify other suspects and determine a motive for the shooting, Pescatore said.

She urged anyone with information about the shooting to contact homicide investigators.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said at a news conference on Sunday that two of the slain victims were innocent bystanders as well as many of those who were wounded.

One of those killed was identified as Kris Minners, a resident adviser at Girard College in Philadelphia, the Girard College Federation of Teachers union said in a statement. Two more victims were identified by the Philadelphia Police Department Sunday afternoon as Jackson and 27-year-old Alexis Quinn.

"The loss of Kris reminds us that gun violence can and will touch everyone in our nation as long as our elected officials allow it to continue," the teachers' union statement read.

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