Philadelphia police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspects in a shooting at a high school Tuesday which left one 14-year-old dead and four other teenagers injured, officials said.
Five teenagers were returning to the Roxborough High School locker room after a football scrimmage Tuesday afternoon when a group of suspects ambushed them with gunfire, leaving at least 61 shell casings at the scene, Philadelphia Police Captain Jason Smith said in a press conference.
Surveillance video released by police appears to show the suspects, described by authorities as four to five males dressed in black, running across the street and between parked cars.
The city is offering a $40,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case. police announced.
The suspects were waiting in a light colored Ford Explorer as the teenagers passed them on the other side of the street, Smith said.
“They were walking along the side walk and that’s when they were ambushed,” Smith said. “They waited for them to get by them, the entire group, before they opened fire.”
The suspects got out of the car and started firing at the victims, fatally shooting a 14-year-old in the chest, Smith said. Four other victims ranging in age from 14 to 17 were injured but are in stable condition, Smith said.
After the initial barrage of gunfire, four of the five suspects returned to the car, but a fifth suspect pursued a 17-year-old and continued shooting at the victim as they ran down the street, Smith said. The 17-year-old was shot once and collapsed on the sidewalk, he said.
The shooter ran up to the victim, stood over him and continued firing, Smith said.
“The only thing that stopped this individual from firing is that he had apparently run out of bullets and his slide had locked to the rear.”
Smith and other Philadelphia officials pleaded with the public for any tips related to the shooting, calling the suspects, who appear to be juveniles, armed and dangerous.
School District of Philadelphia Superintendent Tony Watlington said in a statement Tuesday that social workers and counselors were available for students and staff at impacted schools.
“The School District of Philadelphia is heartbroken and angered by the shooting today outside of Roxborough High School, which tragically impacted five youth and tragically took the life of one,” Watlington said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and school communities of all of the students who have been impacted by this horrific incident.”
In response to a question from a reporter about how the city can prevent such shootings, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said the task isn’t impossible, but is difficult.
“I wouldn’t say it’s unable to be stopped, it’s certainly a heavy lift because of the number of guns that are in circulation and the availability of buying guns without any kind of requirements,” Kenney said.
“It’s not impossible, it’s not hopeless, and we’re never going to give up, it’s just a matter of, it’s a heavy lift based on that state we are living in,” Kenney added.