PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Police say four Overbrook High School students were shot late Wednesday morning as the school closed early.
The shooting happened around 11:30 a.m. near the intersection of 60th and Oxford streets, about a block from the school, outside the Beauty Lounge.
Police say people inside a silver Hyundai SUV began shooting at a group of people standing on the corner.
School removal area officers heard the gunshots, responded to the area, and began taking the victims to local hospitals.
Two 15-year-old female students and two 16-year-old male students were shot dead, police said. Teenage girls are sisters.
All four students were taken to area hospitals where they were listed in stable condition.
Overbrook High School principal Dr Kahlila Johnson spoke to Action News hours after the shooting involving her students.
“They’re broken, you know? They’re broken. We just think that’s their normal and that’s not their normal. They’re kids,” Johnson said. “We shouldn’t expect anything but to be broken. And their parents are scared. No parent wants to get that phone call. And I’m happy to say that the students are in stable condition, but their hearts are n is not stable, their mental state is not stable, and they need the support of all Philadelphians.”
Video and photos from the scene showed police and police tape outside the beauty salon.
The door to the business appeared to have been knocked down and a bullet hole could be seen in a window.
On Wednesday evening, officers said the silver Hyundai SUV had been located and towed.
The Overbrook High School community is reeling from the violence on the eve of Thanksgiving.
“For this neighborhood, we’re going to move on because we have to,” said Sheldon Robinson, founder of Hilltop Hope.
Connie Norwood lives across from the filming scene, one block from the school at 60th and Oxford streets.
“We have to find a way to eliminate this problem,” Norwood said. “It’s very sad.”
Norwood went to Satarra Parker, the owner of the Beauty Lounge, after bullets destroyed her storefront.
“One of our clients is now in therapy and she’s a child,” Parker said. “She’s not even an adult and her life literally flashed before her eyes.”
District 4 Councilman Curtis Jones wants parents to have tough conversations with their children about the consequences of gun violence.
“And that reality is that when they find themselves in this Twitter back and forth and this and that, sometimes sitting them down for a minute allows them to recalculate what’s important, that there’s life beyond of adolescence,” Jones said.
At the Tustin Rec Center, a few blocks from the shooting scene, community advocates said children need role models and more opportunities.
“Trying to be supportive, helping kids know there are other ways and other things to do than just running around town causing madness,” said Anthony Lee, youth advocate for Overbrook.
Following the shooting, Mayor Jim Kenney issued the following statement: “I am heartbroken at yet another act of violence against students. Violence of any kind is simply unacceptable, and it is unacceptable for anyone to endanger young people in firing a gun near a school I am grateful that all casualties are stable and no one was killed.
Our administration will work with the school district to support the Overbrook High School community, and with law enforcement to ensure the perpetrators are found and held accountable.”
At a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, school leaders said they were fed up and excited.
“We allow people to walk around with guns and do whatever they want in the city. Until we tackle this problem and fix it, we’re going to keep coming here. So , we can continue to meet as but it’s unacceptable. We could have lost a child today,” said Kevin Bethel, school district safety officer.
Superintendent Dr. Tony Watlington said the district is already strengthening its security plan, including hiring more officers.
“We are going to have really serious help in solving our city’s problem with these weapons,” he said.
School leaders are also drawing attention to parents, who they say need to do more to empower their children and keep them away from guns.
“It’s also a parent issue. People have to go into their rooms and check on what their kids are doing. I think a lot of them know what they’re doing,” Bethel said.
The Turkey Bowl game scheduled for Thanksgiving morning between Overbrook High School and West Philadelphia High School was canceled due to violence.
The city is offering a $10,000 reward for tips that lead to an arrest and conviction for shootings near schools, recreation centers and libraries. Anyone with information is asked to call 215-686-TIPS.
The Philadelphia Police Department and School Safety Bureau are investigating.
There was no immediate information on a possible motive.
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