It happened around 11:50 p.m. Monday on the 2100 block of North 4th Street.
Police say the four boys, a 15-year-old, two 14-year-olds, and an 11-year-old, were outside when the male suspects approached. All the children live within a block of the area, police say.
The men, who police say were acting together, fired at least 21 shots, striking all four children. A stray bullet struck a 24-year-old man down the block.
Police believe the four children were targeted.
"Two males came on to the block off Susquhanna, opened fire on opposite sides of the streets," said Philadelphia Police Capt. John Ryan.
One 14-year-old was shot in the head. He was taken by private car to Hahnemann University Hospital where he died from his injuries.
"This is a baby. He's just in the prime of his life and he was into basketball. He could have been a basketball star, anything. It's wrong," said neighbor Bernadette Jackson.
When police arrived to the scene, they found the four other victims.
The 11-year-old was shot twice in the hip and buttocks. The other 14-year-old and the 15-year-old were hit in the legs and foot. The 24-year-old man was shot in the stomach.
The boys were taken to St. Christopher's Hospital for Children. The 24-year-old man was taken to Temple University Hospital.
Over *twenty* shell casings litter the street at 4th and Susquehanna where 5 people were shot. Four of the victims are between 11-14 y/o, a 14 has died. Police believe one of the two gunmen is possibly just 15. No arrests made. @6abc pic.twitter.com/NyU3A5ljz4— Jeannette Reyes (@6abcJeannette) July 17, 2018
At this time, the motive remains a mystery, but police say it might have been due to a neighborhood dispute. The father of the 14-year-old boy who died tells Action News his son was not involved in the dispute. He said this was a tragic case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Police say they have spoken to witnesses and are searching through surveillance video. Neighbors believe they may have known the identity of one of the suspects, possibly a teenager, but police would not confirm those details.
"It's hard to take in, it's hard to take in," said Rev. Adan Mairena, of West Kensington Ministry. "It tells you a lot about the society we live in, the gun violence issue."
There is a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.
Send a News Tip to Action News
Learn More About 6abc Apps