Former Phila. football star shot

July 10, 2009 2:00:54 PM PDT
Curtis Brinkley, once a star football player for Philadelphia's West Catholic High School and who recently signed with the San Diego Chargers, was shot while sitting in his car on a city street.The wounded 23-year-old was found just after midnight Friday by a police officer, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

Police say Brinkley was sitting in his car at the intersection of Spring Avenue and Ashbourne Road in Elkins Park. That's when the gunman walked up to Brinkley's car, shot him repeatedly, then ran back to a waiting car and sped off.

Somehow, Brinkley managed to hit the gas and start driving.

The 2004 West Catholic graduate drove about a quarter of a mile, then stopped at the intersection of West Cheltenham Avenue and Oak Lane Road.

A police officer, who was responding to reports of gunshots in the area, found Brinkley parked near a Sunoco station.

The officer took Brinkley to Einstein Hospital.

His family says he was shot in the shoulder and the leg and is awaiting surgery. His relatives say they are glad his injuries are not life-threatening, but are concerned they may impact his NFL prospects.

The gunman remains on the loose.

Investigators have not yet indicated if they have a motive in the shooting.

However Brinkley's uncle, George Brinkley, says his nephew was on his way to pick up his sister, and may have been shot by the sister's boyfriend, who she had argued with.

"She called her brother. He wasn't there, he wasn't a party to whatever happened. He comes and picks her up. From what I understand, [the boyfriend] saw a guy picking her up, and started shooting."

After graduating from West Catholic, Brinkley went on to play for Syracuse University until last year. In April, Brinkley signed as an undrafted free agent with the Chargers.

Brinkley is supposed to go to camp next month as one of 18 rookie free agents vying for one or two spots on the roster.

"This is a setback," George Brinkley said. "Hopefully the NFL, the Chargers, will understand the circumstances. It wasn't like he was around some unfavorable people. He was going to pick up his sister. He was innocent, not knowing what's going on, then he gets hurt."

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