5 Students Shot, 1 Killed Leaving Football Scrimmage at Roxborough High School
The victims, ages 14 to 17, were heading to their locker room when at least two gunmen who were waiting in a vehicle fired dozens of rounds.
PHILADELPHIA, Penn. — A teen was killed and four others were injured when at least two gunmen ambushed them after a football scrimmage at Roxborough High School.
Investigators say the victims, ages 14 to 17, were walking off the field towards the locker room around 4:40 p.m. when shooters fired at least 30 shots, reports ABC7. Four of the students were taken to local hospitals. One of them, a 14-year-old boy, was shot in the chest. He was rushed to Einstein Medical Center but was pronounced dead at 5:09 p.m. A fifth player suffered a graze wound and was treated at the scene.
The scrimmage was between Roxborough High School, Northeast High School, and Boys Latin Charter School. The deceased victim was a student at nearby Saul High School of Agricultural Sciences. Students are able to play for Roxborough since the school doesn’t have a team.
Philadelphia Police say the suspects were waiting in a light green Ford Explorer parked outside the field. They exited the vehicle, fired shots, and then fled on foot. Police are reviewing surveillance footage but have not yet released descriptions of the suspects and no arrests have been made. Anyone with information about the shooting at Roxborough High is asked to call the police at 215-686-TIPS.
Kevin Bethel, chief of safety for Philadelphia schools, says his department provides security during football games but may need to consider adding more security.
“Now we have to cover scrimmage games and practice,” he said. “We have kids out there playing fields across the city, enjoying after-school time, what we’re supposed to do with our young people. We’ll just have to go back and talk to the team to see if we have to expand even further.”
Superintendent Tony Watlington said the shooting has compounded an already stressful time for students.
“Our young people already are traumatized by the pandemic and the effects of learning loss over the past two-and-a-half years and a lot of other challenges,” he said. “Just being a young person these days and certainly unacceptable gun violence like this does not help anything.”
The Philadelphia School District’s Emergency Crisis Response Team, along with a team of social workers and counselors, will be on-site Wednesday at all the impacted schools.
City Leaders Speak Out About Gun Violence in Philadelphia
First Deputy Police Commissioner John Stanford called the shooting “disturbing” and said the student who was killed was “doing what students do: have football games at the end of the day.”
“It’s one of the things that we encourage our kids to do, and then for them not to make it home. There’s one family that their son won’t make it home today,” Stanford continued. “We keep having these same conversations, day in and day out. Something has to stop. We’re going to work together to figure that out but it has to be immediate because this can’t continue.”
The shooting occurred just hours before Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney issued an executive order banning firearms from recreational areas and facilities. There have been 18 incidents of gun violence at city parks and recreation facilities this year alone, according to ABC6.
According to city data, as of Monday, 174 children have been shot so far this year and 23 of them died. This time last year, 157 children had been shot and 27 of them died
In a statement, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan said the shooting “should shake us all to our core.” Despite gun violence in Philadelphia, Jordan said the city does not have “the autonomy to create the gun laws that we need.” According to The Philadephia Inquirer, past attempts made by the city to enact its own gun laws have faced a legal barrier known as preemption, which prohibits municipalities from creating and enforcing local gun laws.
“Our collective rage and call to action must not wane, because we must continue to shine a light on the crisis of gun violence and we must continue to work towards real, meaningful solutions,” Jordan’s statement concluded.
At the scene Tuesday, District Attorney Larry Krasner was asked if aggressive prosecution of those who carry guns is the solution.
“The sentences for possession of guns are longer in Philadelphia than any other category of cities. Longer sentences are happening here, longer than the rest of the state, but it did not stop this,” he responded. “We have to work not only on modern enforcement, but we have to work every way we can on prevention so this is not happening again.”