'Flash mob' assault suspects surrender

PHILADELPHIA - August 10, 2011

They have been charged with aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy, both felonies, as well as simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.

Action News was in Spring Garden Wednesday night as the three suspects were being transferred to the Youth Study Center to await their arraignment.

The young men have drawn the ire of Mayor Michael Nutter, District Attorney Seth Williams, and others for their alleged brutal assault that was captured on surveillance video.

It was a random attack on a 36-year-old man who was passing by 4th and Walnut streets in Center City back on July 29th and wound up in the hospital.

"The three punched him and he sustained a fractured jaw... he's not in the hospital now, but he's going to have to go back in for additional treatment. He has a fractured jaw in two places and he lost a tooth," Lt. Patrick Doherty of the Philadelphia Police Department said.

Only Action News was there earlier in the day when the suspects were turned in to police by family members.

There was no comment from the adults who dropped off the boys at Central Detectives. Detectives say the adults declined to allow their kids to explain why they allegedly attacked an innocent man.

"What could be the reason, I mean, there's no reason to do something like this," Doherty said.

All three are students at the Mastery Charter School.

"When we found that there was footage we were able to identify at least one of the students and that led us to some other students and then we turned that information over to the police," Mastery CEO Scott Gordon said.

The arrests come just two days after Mayor Michael Nutter and other officials announced a plan to crackdown on violent flash mobswhich have caused havoc and injury to others in recent months.

There is now a 9:00 p.m. curfew for those under 18 on Friday and Saturday nights.

Police presence has been bolstered significantly.

Parents are also being held accountable first with a warning and then fines of up to $500 for children who break the curfew.

To date, police have made arrests in each of the flash mob incidents recently thanks in large measure to the large presence of surveillance cameras and a lot of help from the public:

"Center City is galvanized now with the help that they're giving us; it is tremendous support that they're giving us," Lt. Doherty said. "People in Center City have come together and they're galvanized towards this, they're tired of it."

The three teens remain in custody and given the crackdown on flash mobs and the severity of the charges, authorities say it's unlikely a judge will let them off easy at their arraignments.

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