An innocent bystander who was driving in the area was killed while a teen student was critically injured after a fight led to a shooting outside a Northeast Philadelphia high school Monday afternoon.
Police said two groups started fighting outside Abraham Lincoln High School at Rowland and Ryan avenues at 2:48 p.m. just as classes were dismissed. During the fight, a 21-year-old man pulled out a gun and opened fire as three people, including a 16-year-old boy, fled, according to investigators.
The 16-year-old, who is a student at the school, was shot once in the head and neck. A man who was driving in the area, identified by relatives and police as 65-year-old Jeff Carter, was also shot in the head after a bullet went through the window of his SUV.
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Both victims were taken to the hospital. Doctors pronounced Carter dead at 4:40 p.m. while the teen remained in critical condition, police said.
Steve Mez, a family member, told NBC10 Carter was less than a mile away from his home when the shooting took place. He had just dropped off a Sweet 16 dress for his granddaughter prior to the shooting.
"He was just going home," Mez said. "He didn't even know what hit him. It's a damn shame."
Loved ones said Carter had just recently retired and was getting ready for a big weekend.
"It's a tragedy that we're going to lose somebody that good, over something so insane," Mez said. "I just can't understand it."
Two plainclothes officers who were in the area at the time arrested the 21-year-old man and a second person in connection to the shooting. They also recovered a weapon. No charges have been announced.
"Thank goodness there were two plainclothes police officers here who quickly responded to the situation or this could've been a lot worse," Philadelphia School District Superintendent Dr. William Hite said.
At the end of Monday, there were 439 homicides in Philadelphia, up 14% from the same time last year which was ultimately one of the deadliest on record in the city.
"There's far too many guns on the street," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said. "They're far too accessible and a simple altercation, and I don't want to say simple, because people shouldn't be out here fighting anyway, but an altercation now turns into a shooting which now turns into a homicide."
There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.