PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A West Philadelphia neighborhood is shaken after a beloved member of their community was shot in broad daylight. Now police are searching for a suspect.
Eyewitness News spoke exclusively with the 74-year-old man who was shot while fighting off a carjacking attempt.
The shooting could have ended in a tragedy. Thankfully, the victim will be OK. Neighbors and friends applaud him for defending himself.
The shootout left one man in the hospital and another on the loose.
Lonnie Kirkland Jr. is on his way home after a long day at the hospital and talking to the police.
“It’s one of them things, thank God. Could’ve been worse,” he said.
Kirkland has two wounds from bullets that grazed his head. He says on Wednesday morning, a man walked up and tried to carjack him at 52nd Street and Girard Avenue.
“He came up the side of my truck and said, ‘I heard you have a gun, old man. I’mma take that truck, I’mma rob it and I’mma kill you,'” Kirkland said.
It’s a threat he didn’t take lightly. Kirkland, who has a license to carry, fought off the attacker and shot back. He says he may have hit the suspect as he ran away.
“It hurt my feelings when I look at the bullet shots in his truck. Come on, that ain’t real,” a West Philadelphia resident named Gus said.
At least four bullets pierced the Dodge Ram, and upwards of a dozen shell casings were found on the ground, evidence that the victim returned fire.
“The neighborhood loves him. We’re hoping and praying for his recovery,” neighbor Baasheer Bilal said.
The 74-year-old victim, known as Bear, has a license to carry and fired back at the shooter, who witnesses saw limping as he ran away.
“Nobody can’t blame him for what he did. He was protecting himself,” Gus said.
“Whoever did it, I hope Bear put something hot in their [expletive],” West Philly resident Mrs. Jones said.
Friends say Bear is a retired FedEx employee who is well known in the area.
“He has a good wife, a good family. He’s a hard-working man all these years. He dresses real nice. Maybe that’s what drew attention to him, he’s a very good dude. So I hope whoever did this to him see the light and stay away from here,” Bilal said.
Surveillance cameras at a nearby restaurant may have captured the altercation.
Police say violent crime is on a downward trend across the city. However, robberies that include guns have been up 20% in the past month.
Police have recovered a weapon. It isn’t clear if it belongs to the victim or the suspect. So far, no arrests have been made.
For a list of gun violence resources in Philadelphia, click here.