PHILADELPHIA — Four Overbrook High School students were shot Wednesday morning near their school, just after they were dismissed early for the Thanksgiving holiday.
All of the students were in stable condition and were expected to survive. But the shooting prompted messages of sadness and outrage across the community — including from Gov. Tom Wolf, who released a statement saying that “enough is enough.”
“The recent shootings across our country leave families with holes in their hearts and empty seats at the Thanksgiving dinner table. And I’ve had enough,” Wolf said.
The shooting occurred at about 11:30 a.m. near the 1900 block of N. 60th Street in the city’s Overbrook section. The school had dismissed three hours early in observance of the holiday, and was put on lockdown for more than an hour following the shooting, police said.
The students were standing outside of the Beauty Lounge, a nearby beauty salon, when a silver Hyundai SUV approached on 60th Street, Deputy Police Commissioner John Stanford said. A person began firing at the group from the vehicle. Officers who were stationed in the area because of the early dismissal responded to the scene and took victims to area hospitals.
Two 15-year-old girls and two 16-year-old boys were injured in the shooting. One girl was shot in the left shoulder and left thigh; the other was shot in the left shoulder. One boy suffered a graze wound to the face and a gunshot wound to the left hand; the other sustained a gunshot wound to the right leg.
Police transported the victims to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center and Lankenau Medical Center.
Investigators have not determined a motive for the shooting, and police said there were no incidents at Overbrook High School that preceded it.
“(There is) a lot of work to do as to determine the why,” Stanford said. “But we know it needs to stop, and, again, it’s something that we’re working at constantly every day.”
The Beauty Lounge’s glass front door was shattered by a stray bullet and a hair station mirror had a bullseye shaped crack where a bullet struck. Owner Satarra Parker said they were lucky the salon was near empty when the shooting took place. A young teen and one of Parker’s employees were inside but not physically harmed.
“I’ve never had any shooting take place before or anything that made me feel like I would be at this level of danger,” said Parker, who said the shooting cast a shadow on what was supposed to be a celebratory weekend for the business and neighborhood.
Parker said she’d have to cancel a hair event Wednesday night where clients get their hair done while snacking and mingling.
According to city data, three people have been shot, one fatally, so far this year within about a square mile of the school. Overall in 2022, 2,115 people have been shot in Philadelphia as of Tuesday — 435 fatally, and 1,688 non-fatally. Of those victims, 10%, or 204 people, were under 18.
This incident comes nearly two months following a shooting at Roxborough High School in which a 14-year-old boy was killed and four other teens were wounded following a football scrimmage.
“We are devastated how senseless gun violence continues to plague our city. Its impact extends to all students, staff, and school communities,” district spokesperson Marissa Orbanek said. “The ongoing violence erases everyone’s sense of safety, especially during peak school times, such as arrival and dismissal periods.”
Orbanek said the district will continue to invest in programming to support student safety.
Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan said he was “enraged” by the shooting, which not just injured students but also traumatized many more at the school and in the community.
“No one should have to go to school in fear. Or go to a club in fear. Or go to work in fear. Or simply exist in fear for their life,” Jordan said in a statement. He added that it was “well past time for meaningful and sustainable action on gun reform.”
“This Thanksgiving, I’ll be holding the entire Overbrook High School community, and all impacted by this ongoing crisis, in my heart and mind.”
———©2022 The Philadelphia Inquirer. Visit inquirer.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.