By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia police were questioning five girls in connection with an apparently unprovoked attack on a Temple University student and her boyfriend on Tuesday evening. On Wednesday, officials announced three had been officially charged with the assaults.
Police detectives said they were questioning the girls, whom they believe are responsible for at least three assaults along North 17th Street in North Philadelphia, just off the Temple campus (see related stories).
One of the attacks, with a brick to the face, left the Temple student with serious dental injuries.
Capt. Frank Banford says investigators think the attacking girls formed an impromptu mob to carry out the crimes.
He says the suspects, ranging in age from 14 to 17, are from different parts of the city. He says they came together about 6pm Friday evening via public transit, and in the span of 20 minutes attacked three students, then took off on a bus.
He says detectives knocked on doors in the area looking for witnesses.
“They were able to locate a witness who saw these females running up Willington Street, 1700 block, asking if she wanted to join a flash mob,” Banford told reporters this afternoon.
He says they also found surveillance video which was instrumental in getting the suspects into custody.
“They saw themselves on video,” Banford says. “Some actually walked into the Ninth District (police station). Some we were notified by their schools, who recognized them.”
He said one or two girls were still at large.
Banford said the girls were brought to the police department’s Central Detectives division with their parents. He says charges will definitely be filed against one of the girls in connection with the brick attack, and he expected at least three others to be charged with assault.
CBS 3 is not releasing the names of those charged so far, as they are all juveniles.