Teens Charged as Adults in Temple Student Attacks

Detectives say suspects involved in 2 other attacks around the same time

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    Police arrested one person and are questioning four others in the recent attacks of Temple University students. NBC10's Lu Ann Cahn has the latest. (Published Tuesday, Mar 25, 2014)

    Three teens, arrested for allegedly beating several Temple University students in random, gang-style attacks, will be charged as adults, the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office announced on Wednesday.

    Fifteen-year-old Zaria Estes were charged on Wednesday with Aggravated Assault, Conspiracy, Possession of an Instrument of a Crime (PIC), Terroristic Threats, Simple Assault and Recklessly Endangering Another Person (REAP) for three attacks which took place over a 20 minute span last Friday evening, according to the DA's Office. Two other teenage girls were also charged as adults for their role, but a Philadelphia judge moved their cases to Family Court in September.

    On Tuesday, investigators with Philadelphia Police's Central Detective Division said they had taken five teenage girls into custody for the assaults -- arresting one and questioning the other four. They range in age from 17 to 14-years-old.

    The additional arrests were made on Wednesday and the charges upgraded.

    Another Temple Student Attacked

    [PHI] Another Temple Student Attacked
    Temple students told NBC10 they are scared and frustrated with police on and off campus. (Published Monday, Mar 24, 2014)

    Estes, along with one of her alleged accomplices, was held on $100,000 bail. The third suspect was held on $75,000.

    According to state court records, this is the sixth time Bilaal has been charged with a crime. She's previously been arrested for theft and criminal trespassing, among other crimes.

    The attacks, the most serious of which took place at 17th and Norris Streets where a 19-year-old was beaten in the face with a brick, all occurred within blocks of Temple University's North Philadelphia campus.

    The 19-year-old woman, who spoke exclusively to NBC10.com, was walking with her 20-year-old boyfriend around 6 p.m. on Friday evening when she says a group of girls and boys began taunting and touching them. When they pushed back, the girls allegedly started swinging.

    “My boyfriend pushed the girl away from me that hit me in the face and then the girl’s sister came at me with a brick,” said the victim, who asked that we not share her identity.

    The woman was hit twice in the face with the brick, the impact nearly knocking out her teeth. The assault forced her to get emergency surgery.

    Speaking with the woman on Tuesday, she tells NBC10.com that she's doing better. She now has braces on her teeth to keep them in place.

    Police say there were two other attacks that took place within minutes of the brick attack.

    NBC10.com talked to another Temple student, a 20-year-old junior, who said she was walking down her street when she was punched by a several girls. That alleged attack took place along the 1700 block of Willington Street, which runs behind Philadelphia Police's 22nd District headquarters, around 5:45 p.m. on Friday -- just 15 minutes before the brick attack.

    The co-ed said she was typing a text message to a friend and when she looked up, the girls attacked.

    “I typed [the message] and lifted my head to start walking again and as I lifted my head up, there was a girl coming at me, swinging at me, and I was able to lean back. She barely hit my chin, and then she swung again and hit my mouth area and my neck and I was able to shove her away and sprint away,” said the woman who also asked that we do not share her identity.

    Investigators said the girls are also responsible for a third attack at 17th and Cecil B. Moore Streets in which they allegedly assaulted another woman who is a Temple University student.

    Detectives said the motive for the alleged attacks is currently unclear. They said the girls, who do not live in the neighborhood, took a bus into the area before the alleged attacks and left on a bus after. Police are also investigating how the girls met, because, police say, they all go to different high schools.

    At a press briefing on Tuesday, Capt. Frank Banford, commanding officer of the Central Detective Division said two teens turned themselves into police after surveillance video from near the attack was posted online on Monday night.

    Temple was criticized by students and parents for not being notified about the off-campus attacks, only learning they happened after seeing a series of reports on NBC10.com and NBC10 News on TV.

    The university said it reserves such campus-wide alerts for imminently dangerous situations that require immediate action.

    Late Monday, Temple officials announced they would be expanding bike patrols off campus and working with Philadelphia Police and Pennsylvania State Police to enhance security in the areas directly west of campus.


    Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.