A vigil was held for Saleem West between North Marston Street and West Susquehanna Avenue Monday night. Friends and family held balloons and flowers in honor of the teen boy described as a good kid who loved basketball.
"Oh my God it hurts so bad," said Taryn Perkins, a family friend. "He's so young at 16. He's not a bad kid. He wasn't."
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West and his 15-year-old friend were riding down the 2200 block of West Sedgley Avenue around 4:45 p.m. Sunday when they came upon four men sitting in a parked silver Buick with tinted windows.
Capt. Nicholas Brown of the 22nd District said the boys had an interaction with the men earlier in the afternoon and when they realized the same car was in their path, they tried to turn around. Just then, Brown said, two men jumped out of the Buick, began chasing them and opened fire.
The men unloaded 17 shots at the boys, according to Brown. One bullet hit Saleem in the back. He was rushed to Temple University Hospital where he died a short time later.
The men fled the scene and are still on the loose. The surviving teen told police he had never seen them before Sunday. Both boys grew up together in the neighborhood, Brown said.
A motive has yet to be determined, but Brown said investigators haven't ruled out road rage.
"That is an awful lot of shots to fire at two kids, especially if this was possibly road rage," he said.
Pastor Elbert Jordan was inside his nearby church with congregants when the shooting happened. He said violence in the neighborhood has gotten worse recently. Police stats show there have been more than two dozen shootings in the neighborhood over the past few weeks.
Jordan also said he wouldn't be surprised if road rage was at play.
"When people see straight road, they just ride like they're crazy so there is a lot of road rage, there is a lot of that down here," he said.
A $20,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest. If you have any information please call Philadelphia Police.