PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia police are searching for a gunman who killed a man when he opened fire into a crowd of people where a prom party was being held on Thursday night.
It happened near 55th and Pemberton Streets in West Philadelphia.
Police say around 7 p.m. a family was holding a pre-prom party for their nephew in the 600 block of South 55th Street. There were about 70 people attending the party for the boy who left for the Boys Latin senior prom around 8:15 p.m.
Police say around 8:45 p.m. a gunman opened fire into a crowd of roughly 50 people where 23-year-old Aaron Nixon Searight was shot in the head. He was rushed to an area hospital where he later died.
“It was families, babies, so many babies and so many children they were out here last night. I was just praying to god none of them were injured,” one woman said.
Searight’s older sister says Aaron was a good man who cared about his community.
“He just got caught in the crossfire. He had no beef with nobody. He never sold any drugs, he never shot anybody, he was never arrested, never got into fights. My little brother cared about the community,” said Searight’s older sister.
Aaron’s family says he just came back from college out of state and was such a good kid growing up. He also worked with kids in the community who had behavioral issues.
“Nobody is exempt anymore. Nobody is exempt. It’s almost like we are living in a war zone,” said Aaron’s sister. “I want to say this to any murderer, you don’t just kill the person, you kill their family. Aaron has a mother, he has a sister, he has three brothers, he has a niece who was going off to college. He had a life that you just ripped from us.”
No arrests have been made.
The suspect was last seen wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt. Police believe the shooter lives in the neighborhood and is roughly 16 to 20 years old. Investigators say the suspect may have been at the party.
Anyone with any information is asked to call police at 215-686-TIPS. Authorities are offering a $20,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.