Police ID suspect in deadly snowball shooting

February 27, 2008 9:26:46 AM PST
Philadelphia detectives have put a name to the suspect wanted in the deadly shooting of a teenager who threw an errant snowball.

Police are looking for 24-year-old Jose Mendez of the 3000 block of North Water Street. He is wanted for the shooting death of 15-year-old Teven Rutledge.

Police say Rutledge was having a snowball fight with friends near his home on D Street near Rockland on his 15th birthday when a snowball accidentally hit Mendez in the face.

Police say that Mendez went home, got a gun, came back and shot Rutledge in the head.

Philadelphia police are asking for the public's help in finding Mendez. You can call (215)-686-TIPS. They say Mendez should be considered armed and dangerous.

The mother of Rutledge's friend says she told Teven to stay in the house. Tara tells us, "I wanted him to calm down because I didn't want him to come back outside. I turned my back and went to the kitchen, came back outside and he was sitting on the step. As I was opening the door he was shot and then fell."

Tara says she held Teven and tried to stop the bleeding with a towel.

Rutledge was placed on life support after the shooting until 11:45 a.m. Monday when the devices keeping him alive were turned off and he died shortly thereafter.

Shortly after the shooting, SWAT team members stormed the alleged gunman's home. Sources say they found a large stash of marijuana and cash but the gunman was gone.

Luis Bayano, a neighborhood store owner, said Rutledge would often stop by for a cheesesteak. He said he heard the shot "I was at the counter at my store, I heard a 'Boom!' I went down. Because, you know, I thought the bullet went right through my window."

Renay Reaves, Teven's aunt says, "The violence has to stop. It's crazy. Philadelphia is now "Killadelphia" and you just took the life of one of ours."

"You knock on the door and you talk to the parent," his aunt Renay Reeves told reporters Sunday night. "You do not have to kill him. You did not have to shoot him."