Two teenage girls sitting in a car were shot near Temple University’s Liacouras Center after a group of young men tried to reach into their vehicle and a girl in the backseat used pepper spray on the young men, police said.
Both teens were in stable condition, Philadelphia Police Department Capt. John Walker said. The four girls who were in the car are 16 and 17 years old, he said.
The girls were slowly driving by the area Friday night and were having a conversation with the young men on the sidewalk, Walker said. They tried to roll the windows up when the men got too close, but the men began reaching into the vehicle, he said.
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That’s when one of the girls in the backseat used pepper spray on the men, prompting one of them to fire six shots from a handgun into the car, Walker said.
The 17-year-old girl sitting in the front passenger seat was struck in the arm, while the 17-year-old in the rear passenger seat who used the pepper spray was hit in the back, Walker said. Temple University police officers took the girls to Temple University Hospital, where they were in stable condition.
“We teach in self-defense courses all the time for people to carry pepper spay and to use it when you feel in danger. She did what you teach people to do,” Walker said.
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“Unfortunately, the reaction to that is way over the top, and that’s the concerning part of what’s going on right now,” he said, remarking on the amount of crime involving minors in Philadelphia.
A man was spotted with a firearm shortly after the shooting and taken into custody, Walker said. A group of young men who “clearly indicated” they had been pepper sprayed were also detained, he said.
Police initially said the girls who were shot were bystanders in a dispute between people in two cars, but they later corrected that information.
There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.