Mass shooting deaths over Independence Day holiday reach 15

Four killed at Shreveport, Louisiana outdoor party on Fourth of July

Deadly gun violence across the US over the July 4th holiday continued late into the night on Tuesday, as four people were killed and seven injured in a mass shooting at an outdoor party in Shreveport, Louisiana.

A roll of police tape lies on the ground. [Photo by Tony Webster / CC BY-SA 4.0]

In total, according to the Gun Violence Archive, at least 15 people were shot dead and more than 100 others were injured in a series of 18 mass shootings from Friday, June 30 through Tuesday, July 4.

Law enforcement officials reported that the shooting in Shreveport occurred at approximately 11:40 p.m. Tuesday night and involved multiple shooters who exchanged gunfire at an outdoor gathering of about 200 people on Pearl Street in the northwest section of the city.

The victims have not been identified. Two were pronounced dead at the scene, one died at a local hospital and one was discovered by police in a nearby field on Wednesday morning. One of the injured is in critical condition and the six others have non-life-threatening injuries.

Shreveport Police Sergeant Angie Willhite said Wednesday that a motive for the shooting had not been determined and no arrests had been made. Willhite said police found rifle bullet shell casings at the scene, but investigators were not certain that the evidence is directly connected to the gun that shot the victims.

The sergeant also reported that, due to the size of the gathering, police had difficulty getting through the streets of the community and had to park at a distance from the event and run to the scene.

In addition to the shooting in Shreveport, five other shootings occurred on Tuesday:

  • Hayward, California: Six people were injured when a gunmen opened fire on a July 4th party in the street in the block of 400 Ranker Place. One of those shot is believed to be one of the shooters.
  • Edgewood, Maryland: Four people, three adult males and one 17-year-old, were injured by gunfire at approximately 4:12 p.m. near Harr Park Court. Police are searching for the shooter.
  • Lansing, Michigan: Five people were injured in a shooting at a party at around 2:00 a.m. on Tuesday. The five are all men in their twenties. Three are listed as stable while two are in critical condition.
  • Charlotte, North Carolina: Four people were shot, including a 14-year-old male, at around 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday on Park Brook Drive in the Derita neighborhood of north Charlotte. Local news media reported that two of the victims have life-threatening injuries and the incident appeared to be a drive-by shooting.
  • Akron, Ohio: Police reported that four teens were injured by gunfire at a party early Tuesday in a parking lot on East Exchange Street. Shots were reportedly fired by more than one gunmen. The teens who were struck were transported to area hospitals and none face life-threatening injuries.

The mass shootings on Tuesday followed the horrifying violence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (five dead, two injured), Fort Worth, Texas (three dead, eight injured), Indianapolis, Indiana (one dead, three injured), Saint Ann, Missouri (three dead, one injured) and Baltimore, Maryland (two dead, 28 injured) during a 48-hour period on Sunday and Monday.

In the Philadelphia shooting, Kimbrady Carriker, 40, was arraigned on Wednesday morning on 30 charges, including murder, attempted murder, assault and reckless endangerment. Law enforcement representatives told CNN that Carriker carried out the attack, in which he opened fire at random with an AR-15-style assault rifle in the Kingsessing district of southwest Philadelphia just before 8:30 p.m. on Monday, in order to “clean up” the neighborhood.

CNN also reported that Carriker had posted messages on a social media account about guns and the Second Amendment. The network also reported that a social media account identified as Carriker’s shared posts from pro-gun groups supporting Donald Trump, and, in June, shared a mocking video of a speech by President Biden and added the view that the president was trying to “take our arms.”

Police confirmed that the weapon Carriker used was a “ghost gun,” a weapon built from untraceable parts. Authorities also reported at a press conference on Wednesday that people who lived with the shooter had told investigators that he had been “exhibiting abnormal behavior” and “getting more and more agitated” recently, including wearing his bulletproof vest around the house.

The escalating mass shootings across America in 2023—along with the rising number of all gun violence deaths (9,694) and suicides (12,276)—is a manifestation of the deep and intractable contradictions within capitalist society.

While there is an obvious connection between the carnage of gun violence and the massive social crisis—unemployment, poverty, cuts in social services including mental health care, the brutal treatment of the working class and poor by the police—the political establishment and the media cannot mention this reality.

Responding to the shootings in Shreveport, Louisiana, Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards uttered typical platitudes, calling the episode “disturbing” and “heartbreaking.” While Edwards said he was “asking everyone to pray” for the families of the dead and for the injured survivors, he was incapable of offering an explanation for the increasing number of mass shootings.

Instead, like every capitalist politician, Edwards touted law enforcement measures as the only viable response to the violence, saying that local and state police were “doing everything possible to bring those responsible to justice.”