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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Police Hunt for Suspects After 8 Northeast High School Students Shot in Philadelphia (near SEPTA bus stop)

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Eight Northeast High School students were shot in Philadelphia near a SEPTA bus station at Rising Sun and Cottman avenues shortly before 3 p.m. Wednesday, Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel said.

Bethel said the students are in the range of 15 to 17 years old. One of the students, a 16-year-old, was shot nine times in the torso and placed in critical condition. All of the other students are in stable condition, police said.

“Enough is enough,” Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker said. “Every law enforcement partner that we have here in the city of Philadelphia is actively engaged and working together to ensure that every resource that is needed is readily available so that the work can be done to solve the crimes.”

Authorities are searching for three masked shooters who were inside a dark blue Hyundai Sonata with paper tags, police said.

Bethel said as the students from Northeast High were getting onto the SEPTA bus, three shooters exited the vehicle near the Dunkin’ and fired more than 30 shots.

Police released surveillance video of the shooting that shows the gunmen hopping out of the car, firing shots in the direction of a SEPTA bus and then fleeing the scene in the dark blue Hyundai.

Eleven juveniles have been shot in Philadelphia following Monday’s shooting at a bus stop in Ogontz. Bethel said it’s unclear if the two shootings are connected at this time.

“It is hard to sit here and see in three days and have 11 juveniles shot who were going and coming from school,” said Bethel, who became the police commissioner after serving as the Chief of School Safety of the School District of Philadelphia. “The cowardly acts we’ve seen over the past three days are unacceptable. The fact that we’ve had this situation — where I’ve talked about it multiple times — the downstream impact when we don’t address gun violence and don’t address guns is what we see today.”

SEPTA said a Route 18 bus and Route 67 bus were struck by gunfire in the area of Rising Sun Avenue and St. Vincent Street. According to SEPTA, no one on the bus was struck.

SEPTA Transit Police are reviewing video from the area and assisting Philly police in the investigation.

There’s no word on any arrests or motive.

Philadelphia officials say they will use every resource to solve shooting

In a press conference in the rainy weather hours after the shooting, Parker, Bethel and District Attorney Larry Krasner vowed to ramp up resources to solve the shooting and bring justice.

On her way to becoming mayor, Parker ran a campaign on making Philly the “safest, cleanest, greenest big city” in the United States and echoed that same sentiment on Wednesday.

“You need to know that we are going to do everything that we can to ensure your public health and safety, and we don’t apologize for using every legal and constitutional tool in our toolbelts in order to get that done,” Parker said.

Krasner, who was moved to tears talking about Monday’s deadly shooting in Ogontz, said his office will vigorously prosecute those responsible for the shooting.

“We will give them the consequences that they absolutely deserve for this devastating and horrifying act,” Krasner said.

Northeast High School to be virtual for rest of the week

Northeast High School will be virtual for the rest of the week following Wednesday’s shooting that left eight students wounded.

Even though the school will be virtual, the district’s emergency crisis response team will be on-site at Northeast High to help students with grief counseling and other emotional assistance, Watlington said in a release. Counselors will also be available for students at the Crossan School, about a mile away from Northeast High.

The district also has two online tools — Kooth and Lyra Health — for students and staff to access for mental health support.

“On behalf of all children and families in the school district, we are just heartbroken and angry that innocent children walking home from school would be impacted by gun violence,” Watlington said. “We agree with the mayor — enough is enough.”

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