Police are investigating a shooting at a crowded playground in South Philadelphia that left two children hospitalized last night.
A gunman fired into a group of children at Sach’s Playground at 4th and Washington streets shortly before 9 p.m. A boy, 12, was shot in the ankle and a girl, 15, was hit in the thigh. Both were taken to Pennsylvania Hospital in stable condition.
Neighbors said that this isn’t the first time there has been trouble with kids in the neighborhood. “I’ve never seen a bunch of children so ignorant in my life,” said Vernon Gillespie, 53, who lives nearby and was on the scene during the shooting’s aftermath.
“There’s a bunch of them that run around everywhere cussing and shoving – they don’t care who sees. The first thing they do, if they bump into each other, is pull out a gun or a knife. … I don’t know what the heck’s going on. Maybe it’s something in the water or in the drugs that they’re taking.”
There is no word on a motive or any arrests. A school policeman said that one of the victims is a student at Nebinger George W. School at 6th and Carpenter, a few blocks from where the shooting occurred.
“Last night when I came up, I saw the playground with the police and tape everywhere – there must have been 60 kids outside when it happened,” Gillespie said. “People who were there were talking that it might be retaliation for the shooting on Fifth Street.”
That incident occurred shortly before 3:30 p.m. yesterday. A gold Dodge pulled up to a group of men standing on the corner of Fifth and Pierce streets and someone opened fire, hitting a 14-year-old and two 52-year-olds. Police said earlier today that they are still investigating if the two shootings are related.
“It’s scary,” said neighbor Amelia Tuttle, 31, whose husband was at the playground with their infant daughter just an hour before the shots rang out. “There are a lot of softball games and organized sports there – it’s a big, open field and there are usually a lot of children.”
“The playground was full of kids. What kind of mentality they have to just walk up – it gives me a headache just thinking about it,” Gillespie said. “My grandchildren could have been out here. Bullets don’t have a name on them.”