Police have arrested two Philadelphia teenagers after a Friday afternoon shooting left three others dead, including a student still in eighth grade, and a fourth teen hospitalised.
The 15- and 16-year-old suspects have not been identified but have been charged with violation of the Uniform Firearms Actand related offenses, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Police on Saturday named the victims as Malik Ballard, 17; Khalif Frezghi, 18; and Salah Fleming, 14. A fourth victim, 16, arrived at the hospital with a gunshot wound to the stomach, the paper reported.
Both the wounded teen and the youngest victim, Fleming, were students at Mathematics, Civics and Sciences Charter School of Philadelphia, Inc, the school’s founder and chief administrative told the Inquirer. Fleming had enrolled at the school and begun eighth grade in September, said Veronica J Joyner, reporting that his teachers praised him as “very manner able, very quiet and hardworking.”
The injured student is an 11th-grader she described as having “a smile that would light up the room.”
Ms Joyner told the Inquirer: “Both of the young men are very respectable and they’re good students.
“The school and the school family is very saddened that this continues to happen to young people.”
She called the deaths “a travesty.”
The shooting happened about 3.30pm in the Crescentville section of the city; Ballard was found on the sidewalk, Frezghi on a front porch and Fleming just inside the front doorway, the Inquirer reported. The victims were pronounced dead at the scene.
After the fourth student arrived at the hospital, police found a black Ford Edge thought to have been involved and said they believed the 15- and 16-year-old subsequently arrested had just dropped off the teen who suffered a stomach gunshot wound.
Ms Joyner told the Inquirer that the 1,000-student school has expanded its staff of grief counselors from two to four six this year amidst Philadelphia’s plague of shootings; before the Friday incident, 57 children under 18 had been shot so far in 2023 in the city, eight fatally, the paper reported.
“We have about two typed pages of students that have lost either mother, father, brothers, sisters” or other family in shootings, Ms Joyner said, adding: “The schools now, they have to deal with a lot of things they didn’t deal with when I went to school.”
The Independent has reached out to Philadelphia police.