By Cherri Gregg and Syma Chowdhry

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia Police detectives are investigating an attack on a female high school student as she was riding on a SEPTA trolley yesterday morning in North Philadelphia.  Meanwhile, the family is hoping the public can help identify the perpetrator.

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Foi Wharton says her 17-year-old daughter, Shay, was randomly attacked by a man on the Route 15 trolley on Wednesday morning, after she squeezed onto the crowded trolley car and accidentally bumped the man with her backpack.

Shay says, “When I went to turn around to go get my hat, I saw his fists were balled up like he was going to hit me. And he already said he would hit me.”


(An eyewitness' cell phone captured blurry images of the attack as it took place.)

(An eyewitness’ cell phone captured blurry images of the attack as it took place.  The attacker is wearing a dark knit hat, a dark jacket, and a shirt with blue and black horizontal stripes.)


“He said some derogatory things to my daughter, threw her hat on the floor,” Foi Wharton tells KYW Newsradio.  “As she was coming up, he hit her in the face about three or four times.”

Shay recounts, “I saw down and realized I was bleeding, a lot of blood was falling from my nose and my eye was tingling.”

Wharton says her daughter suffered a broken nose, a black eye, and blurred vision.

“I’m a nurse in the emergency room.  I see it every day, but that last thing I would ever want to see, is see it on my child,” Wharton says.

“She’s trying to heal externally, but internally she’s still scared.”

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Eyewitnesses recorded a portion of the attack, and SEPTA officials say they are looking for surveillance video.

“I’m hoping that the from pictures that have been posted, that somebody knows him and will report him,” Foi Wharton says.

“To see the video of him hitting my daughter several times in her face and to see the results of it, really just angers me.”

Shay says the man who hit her jumped off the trolley at 7th and Girard and ran off.

She says, “He gave me the impression that it wasn’t his first time hitting a female, and he didn’t care about the age.”

Her mother notes, “I wish, if there were some adults on the bus, that someone would’ve intervened and try to deescalate the situation.”

Her mother adds Shay’s physical scars will heal but not the emotional ones.

“Not have panic attacks. Not have anxiety, what’s the outcome mentally going to be on her.”

While Shay is going to take break for riding public transportation, her mother hopes this man will soon be off the streets.

SEPTA Police say this is the first time they’ve had to deal with an attack like this on a student, and SEPTA says with more than 100,000 students using the service every day, they take safety very seriously.

A Philadelphia police spokesman says the investigation into the attack is still ongoing.

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If you have any information about the attack or the attacker, contact East Detectives at 215-686-3243.