North Philadelphia

‘So Evil': Family of Man Beaten to Death by Teens With Traffic Cone Speaks Out

Philadelphia police revealed video that they say shows a group of 7 young people -- believed to be teenagers -- attacking James Lambert with a traffic cone on June 24, 2022. The man would die the next day at the hospital

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A 73-year-old man died the day after a group of young people beat him with a traffic cone in a caught-on-camera attack along a North Philadelphia street last month.

Now, Philadelphia Police hope the video of the attack and a $20,000 reward lead them to those responsible.

"It's so evil, how could you do that to a person," Elsie Stephens, the victim's older sister told NBC10. "You have a mother and a father, how could you just beat a man until you take off half of his skull," she added.

James Lambert was walking across Cecil B. Moore Avenue near North 21st Street around 2:38 a.m. on Friday, June 24, when he was ambushed, Philadelphia police said.

On Friday, PPD released video on YouTube that shows the deadly attack on the 73-year-old Lambert. They said those responsible appeared to be three girls and four boys believed to be in their early to mid teens.

The first young person to attack Lambert can be seen on video striking the man -- who is blurred in the video -- with a traffic cone as he walked away from the group to the other side of the street. A short time later, another young person can be seen picking up a cone and throwing it at the man.

Lambert then moves along the sidewalk and is chased down by a young person holding a cone over her head.

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"The teens struck the victim several times with objects, knocking the victim to the ground causing injuries to his head," police said in an online post. "The victim was transported to the hospital where he died of his injuries the following day."

The video shows the young people leaving the site of the attack. One even hopped on a scooter and appeared to be talking with another young person walking alongside him in the moments after the attack. A young person is also seen running down the sidewalk.

"Even I can't comprehend that teenagers would beat an old person in the street for no apparent reason," said Tania Stephens, Lambert's niece.

Later, the young people appear to have gathered again. One teen is then seen acting out what appears to be a stumbling person.

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Police didn't give exact descriptions of any of the young people, except to point out a blonde patch of hair on one of them. They hope this photo that shows each person from different camera angles helps identify them.

Images of young people wanted in the traffic cone beating death of a 72-year-old man along Cecil B. Moore Avenue in North Philadelphia on June 24, 2022
Philadelphia Police

The city offered a $20,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in this homicide, as they do with any unsolved killing in Philadelphia.

Police urged anyone who spots the teens to call 911 immediately. Anyone with information about the attack is asked to submit tips (which be anonymous) by phone or text to 215-686-(8477) or online.

Lambert's family told NBC10's Danny Freeman that he went by "Simmie" and they have been left heartbroken by his death.

To date, there have been 280 homicides in Philadelphia in 2022, according to police data. That's down just 2% from the same time last year, which ended up being the deadliest year on record.

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