A 14-year-old footballer was killed and four other teens were wounded in a shooting behind Roxborough High School in the Roxborough neighborhood of Philadelphia on Tuesday. The Philadelphia Police Department says the shooting happened around 4:45 p.m. on the 300 block of Fairway Terrace.
According to police, two armed individuals in a drive-by style shooting opened fire on the group behind Roxborough High School just after a match had finished. A 14-year-old boy was hit at least once in the chest and rushed to Einstein Medical Center where he died a short time later, police said. According to authorities, at least 70 shots were fired.
Police said on Tuesday that the victim was a 14-year-old student as they continued to look for the assailants, who are still at large. The Roxborough High School squad can be seen huddling in the heartbreaking photographs just before the shots were fired.
All five victims, according to investigators, were football players. The five boys were shot as they left the field after a scrimmage involving Roxborough High School, Northeast High School, and Boys Latin Charter School.
Police claim that a green Ford Explorer approached the victims, shot them many times, and then drove away. At least two shooters, according to the police.
"The biggest piece of this is that there is a 14-year-old that is doing again what students do, have football games at the end of the day," Philadelphia First Deputy Commissioner John Stanford said. "One of the things we encourage our kids to do. And for him not to make it home so there's a family today -- again not taking anything away from the other families -- but there's one family that their son won't make it home today and that is the big part of this."
As the search for the suspects continue, police said that the 14-year-old victim was shot at least once in his chest and eventually died from his wounds, while two of his teammates, ages 14 and 17, were also shot and sent to the nearby Einstein Medical Center. Both are in stable condition.
According to police, a fourth player suffered a graze wound but did not need medical attention. The fifth victim, who was also hospitalized, has not had his or her condition made public.
The victim was on the Roxborough football team, but Philadelphia School District spokesperson Christina Clark said he attended nearby Saul High School, a magnet school that focuses on agricultural sciences.
Around 4:30 p.m., police arrived at the scene of the alleged drive-by shooting in response to reports of gunfire in the 6400 block of Ridge Avenue, where the school is located.
According to preliminary information from the Philadelphia Police Department, when officers arrived, they discovered two 14-year-olds, a 17-year-old, and another victim suffering from gunshot wounds.
Police believe the players may have passed the car as they exited the field after the scrimmage, at which point four people got out and shot five of the teenagers.
After briefly chasing the 14-year-old, the shooters shot him in the chest, according to authorities. The teen collapsed at the foot of the stairs leading to the changing room. Medical personnel took him to Einstein Hospital, but he died sometime later.
"This used to be safe haven for our young people and to see now young people can't even come to a scrimmage game?" Philadelphia School District Chief Safety Officer Kevin Bethel said. "That was a cowardly act today. To come out and ambush people coming off a ball field. That makes you tough, I think not."
"When you have these many guns on our streets, this is the downstream impact of that. Everybody has a gun and everybody wants to use a gun," Bethel added. "Me and the doc were talking about it, it used to be a hand fight, it's now a gunfight."
An investigation is currently ongoing. Local news outlets broadcast images from a helicopter showing police securing the area around the school as a victim was loaded into a police vehicle and driven out of the school parking lot.