Police: Subway attack was random

March 27, 2008 8:48:20 PM PDT
In a chilling confession in the murder of 36-year-old Sean Patrick Conroy, 16-year-old Kinta Stanton allegedly tells police that he and his friends went out randomly looking for somebody to beat up just for kicks. "I think that's what makes this so horrific is the fact that anybody could have basically been the victim of this type of behavior," said Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross.

The tenth grader at Simon Gratz High School told police he and 3 other students, who remain on the loose, skipped classes yesterday. He said they beat Conroy with their fists just before he collapsed on the subway floor in the 13th Street station of the Market-Frankford line.

A transit police officer saw one of the teens take a swing at Conroy, but the four fled before the officer could reach them, authorities said.

Authorities initially thought Conroy may have had a heart attack. The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide. Conroy suffered an asthma attack brought on by blunt force trauma.

In an exclusive interview with Action News, his parents expressed their heartbreak.

"For something like this to happen to him, I mean it's a true tragedy. This is just unbelievable right now," said his father, Steve Conroy.

Conroy was a manager at Starbucks at 13th and Market Streets in Center City. He was engaged to be married to his fiancee, Stefanie, later this year.

His parents wanted the public to know about their son.

"Our son was a kind-hearted and compassionate young man. He loved his life, his friends, his family and the city of Philadelphia. He respected everyone he came in contact with," said his father. "Please don't turn our son's murder into purely a racial issue."

The Conroys say their son was born in Philadelphia and later grew up in Delaware County, attending Upper Darby High School.

"We've gotten a lot of support from his friends and co-workers and it does help, but it doesn't bring my son back," said his mother, Sharon Conroy.

SEPTA had already been increasing security, focusing on the hours of 2 to 5 p.m. because of teens causing problems after getting out of school, said spokesman Jim Whitaker. The attack occurred shortly after 2:30 p.m.

"This particular incident was an anomaly," Whitaker said.

The attack occurred on a city-owned concourse next to the subway, not on SEPTA property, he said.

As police continue to search for the other three suspects in the case, Stanton is held without bail, charged as an adult with murder and conspiracy. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 2nd.