- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 9, 2021

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Seven people were killed Monday around the city of Philadelphia in a sharp increase in violence that had already surged to near-record levels last year.

Shortly before 1 a.m. Monday, 24-year-old Steven Williams and 24-year-old Jehesel Garcia were shot to death in their Lawncrest home in northeast Philadelphia. A small child also in the home wasn’t hurt, police said.

Shortly after 8:30 a.m. Monday, a 54-year-old woman died after she was found shot in a northwest Philadelphia mental health counseling facility where she worked as a supervisor, police said.

Shortly before 2:30 p.m. Monday, a 25-year-old woman was shot to death on a north Philadelphia street. A man was wounded.

Shortly before 3:30 p.m. Monday, two men ages 61 and 42, were shot to death in a Kensington home in northeast Philadelphia, police said.

And shortly before 8 p.m. Monday, 15-year-old Darius Winters was killed after three people opened fire at him on a south Philadelphia street, police said.

The slayings brought the total number of homicides so far this year to 62, a 55-percent increase over the number at the same time last year. The city ended 2020 with a total of 499 homicides, one under the 500 recorded three decades earlier in 1990.

The police commissioner, Danielle Outlaw, said there are a lot of factors in the surge.

“We do know that there are more people at home, we know that there are more people inside,” Outlaw said, adding that officials were increasing efforts to ensure that mediation or other services are available. She also said narcotics are driving a lot of the violence, and police had increased efforts to address that.

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