Police ID great-grandfather fatally shot at Philadelphia ATM; neighbors concerned over bank location

Several people declined to speak with Action News on camera because they were afraid.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia police are investigating after a great grandfather was shot and killed just after he got cash out of the ATM on Thursday night.

The victim has been identified as 69-year-old James Watson of Philadelphia.


It happened around 8:20 p.m. at the Citizens Bank vestibule area near Germantown and Chelten avenues in the city's Germantown section.

"I just want to know why they did it what was the purpose," said Tymir Alston-Haywood, who identified himself as Watson's great-grandson.

Alston-Haywood is 15-years-old and now has to deal with the pain of losing his loved one.

"It's very sad knowing that even withdrawing money from the atm your life is in danger," said Alston-Haywood.

People who live in the area told Action News they were concerned about the relocation of the Citizens Bank, saying it wasn't safe for customers.

"It's difficult to see a senior citizen trying to take money out and get killed. He wasn't (just) shot, he wasn't just robbed, he died," said resident Michael Cogbill of Germantown.

According to Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small, Watson had been dropped off at the ATM by his grandson.

He was then approached by two men who announced a robbery.

Police say one of the suspects shot Watson at least twice before both fled on foot.

"This area is unsafe for the citizens and it's not appropriate for the elderly," said resident Don Martin of Germantown.

Several people declined to speak with Action News on camera because they were afraid. Those who did said the bank wasn't always at this corner.

"I called them several times down to the corporate office, I spoke to the individuals that were working at the bank and told them that this place they're putting on the corner is unsafe for the community," said Martin.

The street is not well lit at night, and there's an alley just a few feet away from the entrance.

Philadelphia police said so far this year, there have been nine homicides with a robbery motive in the city. By this time last year, there were seven.

Experiencing that statistic first hand Alston-Haywood is trying to cope with the pain as his family grieves.

"I'm trying to stay strong for all of them my sister I don't want her to see me like this it's really tough to do," said Alston-Haywood.

Action News reached out to Citizens Bank. A media relations specialist expressed their condolences to the family but did not address the safety concerns over the location of the bank.

"I don't even come to this bank when it's late at night when it's dark or after six or seven o'clock; if the sun ain't out, I stay away," Cogbill said.

While the bank has security cameras inside of the building, there are none outside. Police say they are looking to review a SEPTA camera that hopefully caught what unfolded.
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