PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Three siblings, a 7-year-old boy, a 10-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl, were killed after a stolen car plowed into a crowd in North Philadelphia Friday morning, police said.
The children’s 34-year-old mother was also struck and is listed in extremely critical condition at Temple University Hospital.
Police Homicide Captain James Clark says the incident started around 11 a.m. when a 45-year-old woman, a realtor, was showing a house in the 600 block of Cumberland Street. He says two men approached her at gunpoint, and carjacked her SUV, shoving her in the back seat. Clark says the SUV raced up the street.
“We know that it was driving at an extremely high rate of speed, at some point, the tire blew out, and they were probably trying to make that turn from Germantown onto Allegheny, lost control of the vehicle, and then ultimately ran up on the sidewalk, striking and injuring those individuals,” Clark said.
PHOTOS: From The Scene
The tragedy happened in front of several eyewitnesses, some who were also there helping the mother and her three children sell fruit to raise money for their local garden.
“I saw these kids on the ground, the woman on the ground crying, their clothes ripped off them,” Jesse Bridges of Eagle’s Wings Evangelical Church said.
“They were sweet. They were beautiful, they were beautiful little kids,” Ursula Jackson of North Philadelphia said.
The 34-year-old mother lost her 15-year-old daughter, as well as her 10 and 7-year-old sons.
“Nobody deserves anything like that. Have a heart and turn yourself in,” the victim’s neighbor Stephan Benson said.
The female victim of the carjacking was also injured in the crash and is listed in critical but stable condition. A woman who was with the children, a 65-year-old neighbor, is in stable condition.
After striking the pedestrians, investigators say two suspects, described as a Black male and a Hispanic male in their 20’s, both in white t-shirts, got out of the car and ran away.
Friday night the father and aunt of the 7-year-old boy who was killed spoke briefly.
“Whoever did it, you all need to turn yourself in,” she said.
“Taking innocent peoples’ lives, that was my son. You took him away from me. Turn yourself in,” he said.
We are withholding the names of the people involved, because police have yet to officially release the identities of those who were hurt or killed.
Police are now appealing to the public for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects. Police are also checking surveillance video from along the route the SUV traveled for clues to the suspects identities.
“I’ve been in the homicide unit six years and this is one of the saddest cases that I’ve come across. You have three innocent children that had the rest of their lives in front of them that were taken in this fashion. It’s very sad and its very tragic,” Clark said.
“I know those kids. And for someone to hit those kids like that and just keep on going just doesn’t make sense,” a neighbor said.
The Fraternal Order of Police is offering an additional $10,000 to the $100,000 reward for the arrest of the suspects by 12 p.m. Saturday.
After that, the reward will stand at $100,000 for the arrest and conviction of the suspects.
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey says, “Bottom line, we will use all the resources we have at our disposal, that’s the bottom line.”
The incident is under investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to call 911, call the the Philadelphia Police tipline at 215-686-TIPS, or message the Police Department privately on Facebook or Twitter: www.facebook.com/phillypolice or @PhillyPolice. All tips can remain anonymous.
You may also be interested in these stories:
[display-posts category=”news” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=”5″]