3 shot outside elementary school in the Kensington section of Philadelphia; dozens of shots fired

According to police, 30 shell casings were found - and many of them were rifle rounds.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022
3 shot outside Kensington elementary school; dozens of rounds fired
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According to police, 30 shell casings were found - and many of them were rifle rounds.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Three people were wounded after bullets started flying outside a school in the Kensington section of Philadelphia.

The shooting happened shortly before 1 a.m. Wednesday outside Frances Willard Elementary School.

Arriving officers found a 20-year-old male in the school playground. Police rushed him to the hospital where he is in stable condition.

Meanwhile, a 20-year-old female and a 17-year-old male were taken to the hospital by a private vehicle. They are also in stable condition.

According to police, 30 shell casings were found - and many of them were rifle rounds.

An unattended car parked near where the victims were standing was hit by bullets 15 times.

Neighbors woke up to the sound of more than 30 shots being fired.

"Pow pow pow - and it just kept going on," recalled one neighbor, who did not want to be identified.

Children arrived for the school day just hours later.

"It's scary because they go to that school. So I am scared about it and worried about it," said one mother, who did not want to be identified.

The school operated on a normal schedule.

Police towed away the bullet-riddled vehicle before kids arrived and the chalk circles were washed from the lot, but a bullet hole in the school could still be seen.

"Thank God no one was hurt when that round went into the school building. It absolutely would have been tragic. We're just doing what we can to get ahead of these shootings before they occur," said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.

According to the Action News Data Journalism team, there were nearly 3,900 incidents on school property in Philadelphia last school year, with 433 of those incidents being assaults.

"My boys don't know about it. They're still little. We didn't tell them about it because I don't want them to get worried or anything," added the mother.

"I was in the military so I know what gunshots sound like. So I literally just heard like 20 shots back to back to back. It sounded like there was return fire," added another neighbor, who did not want to be identified.

The gates to the school are usually locked at night, but police say a district employee opened the gates without approval.

"People were playing basketball, but nothing happened ... but when they exited and went back to their cars, obviously there was some problem and they targeted these individuals as they walked out. Someone with the school opened the gates," said Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Frank Vanore.

Within the hour before the children arrived, several more shell casings were discovered and collected. The grounds were swept.

"It hurts my heart that they have to grow up like this, in a city like this," added a neighbor.

There are surveillance cameras at the school, and police are also speaking with witnesses.

The School District of Philadelphia released this statement:

"We are outraged for our students, families and staff that gun violence continues to impact our City. We are embracing our Willard School students, staff and families with extra counseling and trauma support staff from our Emergency/Crisis Response Team. The Willard School will operate on a normal schedule today, with extra school safety and operations supports on site as needed."

Two weeks ago the city announced a $10,000 reward in cases involving shootings near schools, rec centers and libraries.

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