Police: 17-year-old suspect in Rittenhouse Square shooting in custody

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image none"><span>none</span></div><span class="caption-text">Police say a man attempting to break up a robbery in Rittenhouse Square was shot by one of the suspects.</span></div>
Officials tell Action News a 17-year-old from South Philadelphia has turned himself in to police in connection with a shooting on Tuesday night in Rittenhouse Square that left a man wounded.

The teen surrendered around 4 a.m. Saturday accompanied by his father.

The shooting happened just after 9:30 p.m. Tuesday inside the park.
Police say three men, two of them with handguns, tried to rob a group of three to five people. That's when a man, who was riding through on his bike, went up and tried to stop it.

"Our 39-year-old victim made some sort of statement like, 'You are not going to rob these people, what are you doing?'" Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said.

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Police sources tell Action News a 17-year-old from South Philadelphia is being sought in connection with a shooting on Tuesday night in Rittenhouse Square that left a man wounded.

The victim was shot four to five times in the chest, shoulder and torso. He was rushed to Hahnemann University Hospital in critical but stable condition.
Some witnesses said the shooter and the other suspect are known to the area.

Matthew Solomon was nearby Rittenhouse Square when the shooting happened.

"After shots were fired, I saw people run both toward Walnut and West Rittenhouse and toward 18. Police responded in less than a minute," Solomon told Action News.

"It's surprising something like this would happen, because it's usually so crowded here at night," said Josh Grajewski from Sicklerville, New Jersey. "Surprising somebody would try something like that."

"We were sitting at Parc," said Michael McCarthy of Center City Philadelphia. "Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! We said, 'Firecrackers!' "

"People were screaming, 'Gunshots!' (We) actually got up from the table outside and jumped behind the wall," said Pamela McCarthy.

Residents and others say problems in the iconic neighborhood have been simmering for about a year now.

For four years, Mike LeRoy from Germantown has been juggling for children at Rittenhouse Square. He is one of several who have seen the change in the atmosphere.

"You get a lot of young kids who are doing what they do sometimes when they smoke things," said LeRoy.

"There's certain corners where there's pot use and pot dealers and there's homeless people around the park," said Todd Hemperly of Rittenhouse Square.

"You find needles around the park, syringes from the heroin use. It had to come to this point of an actual shooting for people to wake up and say 'Hey, we need to do something,' " said Michaela Petrone of Rittenhouse Square.

Some residents say ever since they city shut down Love Park for renovations, the problems there migrated here. Back in March, a 24-year-old Bucks County man was stabbed by a 40-year-old man at 18th and Rittenhouse.

In a letter to its members, the president of the Friends of Rittenhouse Square says in part, "In addition to illegal activities there has also been an increase in the homeless population in the square... due to construction at Love Park." The president urges its members to write the mayor and city council to express their concerns.

There was a heavy police presence Wednesday night in and around the square, which was reassuring for some residents.

"I'm not afraid to walk here. There's no issues for me," said Susan Vineberg of Center City.

But Tuesday night's shooting has left other residents feeling uncomfortable.

"Just as a warning to us I guess to be careful," said Walter Cohen of Rittenhouse Square.

"And the last thing you want is to come outside knowing that there's drugs going on and there's shootings going on and you could be a victim," said Petrone.
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