Northeast Philadelphia

Woman Dies After Ejected Patron Shoots Into Northeast Philly Bar

A shooter fired at least 15 times into Philly Bar and Restaurant along Welsh Road in Northeast Philadelphia Tuesday night. Jailene Holton, a designated driver out for a night with her friends, was shot in the head and later died

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A young woman serving as a sober driver while on a night out with friends wound up the latest victim of Philadelphia's deadly gun violence when a patron angry over not being allowed to use a pool table who was thrown out of the bar opened fire from hundreds of feet away.

The 21-year-old woman died after being shot as the other customer fired at least 15 shots into Philly Bar and Restaurant along Welsh Road in Northeast Philadelphia just after 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, Philadelphia police said.

Family members, including the woman's father, and police identified her as Jailene Holton. Family members said she with some friends at the time she was shot.

"She was just a good kid... she was trying to get her life together, you know, and find herself in life," her father Jason Holton told NBC10's Karen Hua. "It just sucks."

Jailene Holton
Facebook photo confirmed by family members
Jailene Holton

Witnesses told police that three men caused a disturbance inside the bar shortly before the shooting and were escorted out of the bar, Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said.

She lost her life "for absolutely nothing," Philadelphia Homicide Lt. Daniel Brooks said.

At least one witness told police the argument stemmed from usage of a pool table, Brooks said. The eventual shooter claimed he wasn't permitted to use a pool table over his race, but the manager ensured him it was only because a scheduled pool league was using the table.

Bar staff then escorted the irate man from the bar.

"That's when he walked, we believe, to a vehicle that was a black or dark pickup truck and that's when the 15 shots were fired," Small said.

Police and medics "found a 21-year-old female who was inside the bar laying on the floor suffering from a gunshot wound to her head, she was unresponsive," Small said.

Doctors attempted emergency surgery on the woman, but she died early Wednesday morning at the hospital, police said.

"We don't believe at all that she was the intended target," Small said.

Police found at least 15 bullet casings about 200 feet from the bar and five bullet holes in the glass in front of the bar. Investigators believe "one of those bullets that went through the glass struck this 21-year-old female who was inside the bar with friends," Small said.

She wasn't even near the front of the bar, Small said.

Holton was at the bar to be a designated driver, Brooks said.

"She was trying to be there for them," Brooks said.

There were about 20 customers and four employees in the bar at the time of the shooting, Small said.

A bar worker and at least one patron -- both with licenses to carry -- returned fire, but no one was struck from the returned gunfire, Brooks said.

A man in his 30s was hurt by shattered glass or the fragments of a bullet and was taken to the hospital with an eye injury, police said.

The shooter fled the scene in the pickup after the shooting, Small said.

Police hoped that surveillance video helps them identify the shooter.

In an unrelated shooting overnight, a young man was shot and killed along North Broad Street in the East Oak Lane section of the city.

Entering Thursday, at least 257 people had been killed in Philadelphia in 2022, according to police data. That's down about 5% from last year, which wound up being the deadliest year on record in the city.

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