PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A 16-year-old boy was mercilessly gunned down on a West Oak Lane sidewalk, still wearing his Burger King uniform. As police search for the killers and gun violence soars in Philadelphia, the teen’s high school principal says he was a quiet young man and well-liked by his teachers.
Flashing lights, spent shell casings, and homicide detectives playing like a record on repeat. Philadelphia’s sad No. 1 hit, “another life lost.”
“It’s not easy about bullets, and they have no names,” a neighbor said.
The neighbor is right. Bullets don’t, but the people they kill do.
“He’d been here since first grade,” Veronica Joyner, Mathematics, Civics and Sciences Charter School founder and principal, said.
He is 16-year-old Mehki Partlow, who was an 11th grader at MCSCS in Philadelphia.
“Very good student, very quiet, very mannerable,” Joyner said. “His teachers had very positive things to stay about him, that he was very respectful.”
On Thursday morning, minutes after midnight, Philadelphia police rushed to the 7100 block of North 19th Street in West Oak Lane.
Mehki was found on the side of the road, dead from a single bullet wound to the head.
He was still wearing his Burger King uniform, apparently having just left work.
Police say they’re looking for three or four suspects, all men, who may have been driving a stolen SUV before ditching it near the scene of the crime.
“Today, we find that you don’t have to have a reason,” Joyner said. “They randomly select people walking the streets at night.”
This is not the first time the MCSCS community has dealt with tragic shooting deaths of fellow students.
“There has been three in two years, and all great students,” Joyner said, “Just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. We need to put more emphasis on our youth and teaching them to care. We assume they know how to care, but they don’t. And many times the families don’t give them the care and love, and they don’t give it back.”
Joyner says the school has counselors available for the students.
On Thursday morning, District Attorney Larry Krasner spoke virtually with the students about their loss.
As for the investigation, police are searching for those three or four men right now.
So far, no arrests have been made.
For a list of gun violence resources in Philadelphia, click here.