Philadelphia mass shooting: 8 students shot at SEPTA bus stop; 3 shooters, driver sought

Eight school students were shot as they waited for a SEPTA bus in Northeast Philadelphia Wednesday afternoon, and now police are searching for the shooters after their suspected vehicle was found abandoned in an alley.

It happened around 3 p.m. at the intersection of Rising Sun and Cottman avenues. 

Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel says a number of students from Northeast High School were waiting for the bus, and converging to get on the bus just before gunfire broke out. 

Philadelphia police released the following surveillance footage showing three shooting suspects get out of a car parked across the street near Dunkin Donuts, open fire at a group of students waiting for the bus before all three suspects return to the car with a fourth suspect, a getaway driver, speeds off. 

The suspects fired more than 30 times into the crowd, striking eight students. 

The following victims ranging from ages 15-17 were injured during the incident and transported to local hospitals via officials:

  • A 16-year-old boy sustained nine gunshot wounds to his torso and is in critical condition.
  • A 15-year-old boy sustained two gunshot wounds to his left arm and one to the upper back.
  • A 15-year-old boy was shot once in his lower back.
  • A 16-year-old boy suffered gunshot wounds to his chest, right leg, and right arm.
  • A 16-year-old boy was shot once in his left buttocks and right thigh.
  • A 17-year-old boy was shot once in the left leg.
  • A 16-year-old boy was shot once in the left leg.
  • One victim, a 16-year-old boy, sustained a gunshot wound to the upper back, He was the only victim transported to the hospital via private vehicle.

All the victims were placed in stable condition except for the 16-year-old boy who is in critical condition after sustaining nine gunshot wounds. 

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Sources have told FOX 29 police are looking for at least three suspects believed to have been driving a dark blue Hyundai. 

A car matching the suspected vehicle's description was found abandoned by police late Wednesday night in an alley in Northeast Philadelphia. The temporary paper tag had been removed, according to FOX 29's Steve Keeley.

Following the incident, Northeast High School announced it will operate remotely for the remainder of the week. Classes will begin at 8:30 a.m.

The School District of Philadelphia Superintendent Tony B. Watlington, Sr. responded to the shooting in a press release Wednesday evening. 

It read, "Caring for the mental and physical well-being of our students remains a top priority for the District. While school will be virtual tomorrow, the District’s Emergency Crisis Response Team of the Office of Prevention and Intervention will be on-site at Northeast High School starting tomorrow to support our students with grief counseling and whatever emotional assistance they need. Counselors are also available for students at Crossan School starting tomorrow through our team of crisis counselors from the Office of Prevention and Intervention. "

Watlington's statement continued, "Additionally, the District has two online tools for students and staff to access mental health support. Kooth, a confidential online mental health and well-being platform designed to provide students with access to personalized care at no cost to families, is also available to high school students."

The District is working with Lyra Health, an employer-sponsored benefit that connects employees, spouses, and their dependents to provide on-site counseling support at both Northeast High School and Crossan School as soon as possible.

Wednesday’s shooting is the latest in a series of violent incidents happening on or near SEPTA buses or bus stops

"It’s hard to sit here and see, in three days, that I have 11 juveniles shot who are going and coming from school," Commissioner Bethel said to reporters following the shooting. "The cowardly acts that we’ve seen over the last three days are unacceptable."

"The downstream impact when we do not address gun violence and we do not address guns is what we see today." Bethel added. 

Mayor Cherelle Parker also addressed reporters after Wednesday’s shooting, speaking about the recent indidents and alluding to actions the city would be taking to combat violence. 

"The purpose of our being here today is to inform you all that enough is enough. That every law enforcement partner we have here in the City of Philadelphia is actively engaged and working together to ensure that every resource that is needed is readily available so that the work can be done to solve the crimes," Mayor Parker said.

"Now, this is what’s extremely important to me as the mayor of this city," Parked added. "That the people of this city know that we will not be held hostage. That we will use every legal tool in the toolbox to ensure the public health and safety of the people of this city." 

Late Sunday night, police say a 27-year-old man was shot to death shortly after stepping off a SEPTA bus in Oxford Circle. 

Police say two men were getting off SEPTA’s Route 59 bus when one opened fire on the other, killing him. 

On Monday, a 17-year-old boy was shot and killed after two gunmen opened fire on a group of people boarding a SEPTA bus in the city’s Ogontz neighborhood. A total of five people were struck by gunfire in that incident, including a 71-year-old woman who was sitting on the bus. 

Tuesday, after an apparent argument on board a SEPTA bus a 37-year-old man was fatally shot on board.