A pregnant woman unloading her baby shower gifts was gunned down on the street in Philadelphia this weekend, leaving neighbors shocked and police officials furious.
“The person that did this couldn’t be more cowardly,” Deputy Police Commissioner Christine Coulter told reporters, decrying the epidemic of gun violence.
There have been 493 homicides in Philadelphia this year—a 12 percent increase over 2020 and closing in on the record of 500.
“The city as a whole is doing what we can,” Coulter insisted. “We can’t stop people who are intent on shooting somebody. ”
Jessica Covington, 32, who was seven months pregnant, had just returned home from her shower Saturday night and was bringing the presents from a Kia Soul to the house.
“Gunshots were heard,” Coulter said. “There was an officer several blocks away who heard the shots. When they came here they discovered her shot several times.”
Covington had wounds to her head and stomach. She was pronounced dead at the hospital, along with the fetus. There were reportedly nearly a dozen shots fired.
“When I look at this situation, it looks like someone was targeting her and looking for her,” Coulter said.
A friend arriving at the crime scene began wailing, “What happened? What happened?”
Neighbor Tom McDonald told 6ABC that the victim was “a nice person, up and down the street.”
“Enough is enough,” McDonald said. “It’s time for the city to do something.”
In a sign of how the the slaying was reverberating throughout the community, Mayor Jim Kenney announced a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
“This news is deeply upsetting and heartbreaking,” the mayor tweeted
Coulter said police have gotten a record number of guns off the streets of Philly, but more needs to be done.
“We need everybody in the city—including elected officials, police officers, and every person that lives in every home in Philadelphia—to get as angry as they can about this and to be outraged. This should never happen and this is happening all too frequently,” she said.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said in a statement that “this heinous crime has sent shock waves throughout the country, and also highlights the intentional lack of regard that we are seeing for humanity. And worse, all of this comes at a time when we are approaching another grim milestone. Soon, we will reach, and almost certainly surpass, 500 homicides in our beautiful city.”
“This unconscionable loss of life is almost too much to bear. On its own, 500 lives cut short is a staggering number. But whatever the final total, what this number can never truly show are the thousands of other lives impacted by sudden and tragic loss.”