Driver shoots 16-year-old attempted carjacker; Philly police dealing with uptick in cases

Police said there were 750 carjackings in all of last year. So far this year, there have already been 91 carjackings.

ByJillian Mele WPVI logo
Friday, January 14, 2022
Driver shoots attempted carjacker; police dealing with uptick in cases
A driver in Philadelphia turned the tables on a would-be carjacker on Thursday night. It's one of the more than 90 carjackings incidents this year.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A driver in Philadelphia turned the tables on a would-be carjacker on Thursday night as the city continues to deal with a rise in carjacking incidents, according to police.

(CORRECTION: Philadelphia police earlier told Action News the teen suspect had died, but have since corrected that information to say the teen remains in the intensive care unit).

Gunfire erupted around 7:30 p.m. along the 6500 block of Cherokee Street in West Mount Airy.

"Our 60-year-old carjacking victim is very, very lucky," Small said.

That victim, Oliver Neal, says he was getting out of his car when two young men approached him and demanded his keys.

Neal says one of them had a gun and pointed it six inches from his face, so Neal says he had no choice but to fire his weapon.

"He said 'give me the keys.' By then I had my hand on my weapon and saw him tighten his grip and I knew I had to shoot," Neal said. "I think he shot first but I don't know. All I know is we went back and forth. I started shooting and next thing I know, he hops across the street, drops to the ground... I just kept shooting."

"The Lord was protecting me. Soon after I was thanking Jesus for my life," he continued.

And he has a message for all of the kids out there who get caught up in these types of crimes: "Get a proper education. Work hard like everyone else. There are opportunities out there."

Police said the suspect remains hospitalized in critical condition.

In another twist, police said they found the teen suspect in a Jeep that had been stolen in a separate carjacking robbery this past weekend.

The crime comes as Philadelphia police leadership sounds the alarm about this troubling trend.

Philadelphia police said there were 750 carjackings in all of last year. So far this year, there have already been 91 carjackings.

"The carjacking issue in some ways across the country is exploding," said Philadelphia Police Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Naish.

Police said what's even more troubling is the number of these crimes are being carried out by teens.

"I don't want anyone for any minute to begin to normalize this and say this is just what happens here in Philadelphia," said Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.

On Thursday, a frustrated Outlaw laid out some of the department's strategies to help calm fears.

Outlaw said the department will be using targeted patrols of both uniformed and plainclothes officers in what she called "carjacking hotspots."

She said the department will also be working with the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office to help with investigations.

"We are truly using every resource available to combat this issue," Outlaw said.

Already this year there have been 91 carjackings. Last year, there were more than 750.

"It seems like nowhere is safe in Philadelphia anymore," said one resident who heard the gunshots on Cherokee Street.

He asked not to be identified but did want to voice his outrage.

"Go to school, go to college, and get a job and buy your own damn car, excuse my language. Enough is enough of this nonsense," he said.

SEE ALSO: Driver shoots armed teenage carjacking suspect in Fairmount | EXCLUSIVE

The driver told Action News: "I saw the gun and I thought he was going to shoot me and take the car, so I retaliated as fast as I could. And just to see another day, I had to shoot the guy."

Earlier this week in Fairmount, another victim fought back against an attempted carjacker.

An arrest has been made, but the victim spoke to Action News and said he had no choice but to defend himself.

"I saw the gun and thought he would shoot me and take the car. I retaliated to see another day. I had to shoot the guy. I believe I shot his thumb off and shot him in the face," said the victim.

Police also addressed victims taking matters into their own hands and generally encouraged victims not to fight back over the risk of losing their lives.