What to Know
- Temple University student Samuel Sean Collington, of Prospect Park, Pennsylvania, was shot and killed Sunday afternoon along the 2200 block of North Park Avenue in North Philadelphia. He was just 21.
- Collington's mother called her son's murder a "horrible injustice" and a "travesty like you have no idea." She also said she'll do anything to bring the person responsible to justice.
- He was set to graduate from Temple in the spring, and worked as a fellow for the Philadelphia City Commissioners' Office.
UPDATE (12:50 p.m., Nov. 29): Collington was killed in what video evidence appears to show as an attempted robbery or carjacking, according to the District Attorney's office.
A Temple University political science major months from graduation was shot and killed off-campus in North Philadelphia Sunday afternoon after he returned from Thanksgiving break, and police are still searching for the gunman.
Samuel Sean Collington, 21, of Prospect Park, Pennsylvania, was shot at least twice in the chest outside his college apartment in the 2200 block of North Park Avenue at 1:32 p.m. The city District Attorney's office said Monday that Collington was shot four or five times.
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His mother, Molly Collington, said her son had just returned to North Philadelphia from his home in Delaware County with clean laundry following the long holiday weekend.
She called her son's murder a "horrible injustice" and a "travesty like you have no idea" during an interview with NBC10. She also said she'll do anything to bring the person responsible to justice.
Police did not give a motive for the shooting, but the DA's office said Monday during a weekly update on gun violence that video evidence showed Collington was shot in what appeared to be a carjacking or robbery.
Collington appeared to fight back, the DA's office said, but that was after he was already shot. More video evidence is still being examined, officials said.
Collington was shot at least twice in the chest. He was taken to Temple University Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 1:57 p.m. No weapons were recovered and no arrests have been made. Police have not released information on any suspects.
Collington was a senior political science student at Temple, the university said. He was set to graduate in the spring from the College of Liberal Arts.
"This is a tragedy in every sense of the word. Our thoughts are with the victim’s family, friends and the entire Temple community during this tremendously difficult time," a spokesperson for the school wrote.
Collington was also a fellow in the office of the City Commissioner.
“Samuel was an incredibly talented and engaged young man,” City Commissioner Omar Sabir wrote. “During his brief time with our office, Samuel exemplified an incredible passion for engaging voters and was an indispensable member of our team. Sam’s death is a tremendous loss for the City Commissioners and all who knew him.”
The shooting occurred about three to four blocks away from Temple's campus. Neighbors told NBC10 several Temple students live in the area.
"We are deeply saddened by the death of Samuel Collington, and strongly condemn this and any acts of violence in our city," a spokesperson for the Mayor's Office said. "We grieve every life lost to violence, and we're heartbroken for Samuel’s friends and family as they cope with this unimaginable loss. Our thoughts are with his loved ones, the Temple University community, and his colleagues in the City Commissioners’ Office."
Mayor Jim Kenney called Collington's killing a horrible case of "bad things happen to good people."
"There is evil in this world," Kenney said of the murder, adding that the gunman needs to be caught and put in jail for the rest of his life.
Kendall Stephens, a Temple student and friend of Collington's, told NBC10 Collington cared deeply about his community and was fighting to end the same violence that took his life.
"This should never have happened to anybody," Stephens said. "But especially someone who actually cared about the surrounding neighborhood. That is what's so tragic about all of this."
Stephens said Collington's community advocacy extended to Harrisburg.
"He was on fire," Stephens said. "The way he was able to talk to senators and build that political connection and able to reach across the aisle in a very nonpartisan way. It was fascinating to see."
Robin Kolodny, the chair of Temple's political science department, also said Collington was not a typical student.
"It's not what, you know, a lot of college students would do," Kolodny told NBC10. "In learning more about Sam I hope people will follow his example."
So far this year there have been at least 506 homicides, making 2021 the deadliest year on record in Philadelphia.
"There's been a lot of chatter about we should have more police," Kolodny said. "His friends are very clear that that's not what Sam would've championed."
Within a block from where Collington was killed, there have been four other armed robberies in the last month, including three around the same time of day.
"They're acting out of desperation," Stephens said. "They're acting out of hopelessness. And those are the basic ingredients for violence. So we're trying to instill hope back into these communities."
If you have any information on the shooting, please call Philadelphia Police at 215-686-TIPS (8477).
There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.