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A man walks past a parked vehicle with a bullet hole in the rear window in Philadelphia on Dec. 31.Michael Perez/The Associated Press

Six gunmen fired more than 65 rounds on a Philadelphia street, sending nighttime pedestrians on a busy block teeming with markets and restaurants scrambling for cover and injuring six people, at least one of them critically, police said Friday.

Police responded around 11:30 p.m. Thursday in the Germantown neighbourhood and found a 21-year-old woman shot multiple times in the abdomen and chest and lying near dozens of spent casings. Officers rushed her to the hospital, where she was in critical condition Friday.

Five men ages 19 to 29 were taken with gunshot wounds by private vehicles to two hospitals, police said. All were expected to survive.

Officers are looking at surveillance footage, Chief Inspector Scott Small told reporters late Thursday. Police released surveillance footage Friday showing six men jump out of a van and begin shooting. The footage also shows shots being fired back as individuals from both groups dodged between parked cars to get away from each other.

It was unclear if any of the men seeking treatment at the hospital were part of the group who jumped out of the van, starting the fight. Police had initially said based on the casings that at least two different gunmen fired weapons.

The injured woman, who suffered the most gunshot wounds, may have been the intended target, Small said. But the extensive crime scene – with a sea of casings on Germantown Avenue and bullets from at least two different-calibre semi-automatic weapons striking parked cars – made it difficult to be certain.

“The fact that we found over 65 spent shell casings – that’s a whole lot of shots fired – so it’s hard to even say who is the intended target and who is struck by stray gunfire,” Small said.

A Philadelphia city website tracking shooting victims and homicides showed that as of Tuesday, there were 1,827 nonfatal shooting victims in 2021, an increase of more than 600 from pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

Philadelphia police showed 559 homicides going into the last day of 2021, the most recorded since the city began tracking in 1960.

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