It was July 4 this week, when the nation celebrates its independence and remembers the day that the United States of America was established.
Across the country, families, friends and communities gathered for parties. Many watched spectacular fireworks displays.
And several families lost loved ones to gun violence as a string of July 4 celebrations became the sites of the latest mass shootings to rock the nation.
Over the course of the long holiday weekend from Friday evening through to Wednesday morning, the US endured at least 16 mass shootings, according to the Gun Violence Archive (GVA).
The shootings spanned all corners of the nation, from Texas to Washington DC to Illinois and beyond, leaving at least 15 people dead and another 94 injured.
The weekend of shootings came on the one-year anniversary of the horrific mass shooting where a gunman killed seven people at an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois.
President Joe Biden responded to the latest round of gun violence by once again calling on Congress to take action with common-sense gun control reform.
Here are just some of the shootings during the holiday weekend:
Two killed and 28 injured in Baltimore block party shooting
A Baltimore block party turned into a bloodbath over the July 4 weekend when at least two shooters opened fire on partygoers, killing two people and wounding 28 others.
The mass shooting unfolded in the Brooklyn Homes area of South Baltimore in the early hours of Sunday morning as hundreds gathered for the annual community celebration.
Officers responded to the scene, where the community had been holding its annual Brooklyn Day block party, to find 30 victims suffering from gunshot wounds.
Aaliyah Gonzalez, 18, was pronounced dead on the scene while nine victims were rushed to local hospitals and 20 walked into area hospitals across the region. Kylis Fagbemi, 20, died at the hospital from his injuries.
Among the 28 victims who survived, 14 were minors.
Baltimore Police said that they believe there were at least two shooters in the attack but – as of Wednesday – no arrests had been made.
‘Random, premeditated’ mass shooting in Philadelphia
Five victims were killed on the eve of July 4 when a shooter dressed in a ski mask and bullet-proof vest stalked several blocks in the Kingsessing neighbourhood gunning down victims.
The shooting unfolded at around 8.30pm on Monday when suspected shooter Kimbrady Carriker – armed with an AR-15-style rifle and a 9mm handgun – opened fire in the southwest Philadelphia neighbourhood.
“On what was supposed to be a beautiful summer evening, this armed and armored individual wreaked havoc, firing with a rifle at their victims seemingly at random,” Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said in a press conference on Tuesday.
As well as the firearms and body armour, the shooter was also using a scanner to track the response from police and emergency services.
Officers responded to the scene while the suspect was still “actively shooting” and an arrest was made.
In total, five people were killed in the attack: Ralph Moralis, 59; Lashyd Merritt, 20; Dymir Stanton, 29; Daujan Brown, 15; and Joseph Wamah Jr, 31. Two children – aged two and 13 – were also shot in the leg but are in stable condition. The two-year-old’s twin and a 33-year-old woman also suffered injuries from broken glass caused by the shooting.
Carricker was arraigned on murder charges on Wednesday and is being held without bail.
Fort Worth’s ComoFest ends in three dead and nine injured
In Fort Worth, hundreds had gathered for the neighbourhood’s annual ComoFest on Monday night.
Just after midnight – and not long after the event ended – at least one person opened fire in the crowds.
Sources told ABC11 that the shooting began with an argument that quickly escalated to gunfire but it remains unclear if the shooting was gang related.
At least 11 people were shot including three who died from their injuries.
CCTV shows dozens running for cover during Fort Worth shooting
Two of the three victims killed were identified as Cynthia Santos, 22, and Paul Willis, 18.
As of Wednesday, no arrests have been made and the identities of the shooter or shooters remain unknown.
It marked just one of four shootings in Fort Worth on the eve of July 4, leaving a total of 17 dead or wounded across the city.
Louisiana block party leaves three dead and six injured
A Louisiana July 4 block party ended in tragedy when three people were killed and six injured in a mass shooting.
Shreveport police said that locals were celebrating the holiday with a block party on Pearl Avenue on Tuesday night when gunfire broke out.
Officers arrived on the scene to find two people dead and others suffering gunshot wounds. A third victim died in hospital.
At least six other people were injured with the extent of their injuries unknown.
It is currently unclear how many shooters there were or what led up to the shooting.
Nine, including children, shot in drive-by shooting in DC
Nine people, including two children, have been injured in a “targeted” drive-by shooting in Washington DC while the nation’s capital was celebrating the July 4 holiday.
The DC Metropolitan Police Department said that residents were enjoying Independence Day festivities on Meade Street in the northeast area of the city when someone in a dark SUV drove opened fire on them at around 1am ET.
Assistant Chief Leslie Parsons said in an early morning press conference that the dark-coloured SUV was driving through the block when it suddenly “stopped and it fired shots in the direction of some of our residents that were outside, just celebrating the fourth of July”.
Nine people were wounded in the shooting, all suffering non-life-threatening injuries. Among the victims were two children aged just nine and 17 years old.
While still in the preliminary stages of the investigation, investigators believe the shooting was a targeted attack and are searching for the dark-coloured SUV.