'No reason to kill my son like that': Father mourns loss of teen killed on walk to school in Philly

The student was walking to Simon Gratz High School Mastery Charter, police said.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023
'No reason to kill my son like that': Father mourns loss of teen killed on walk to school in Philly
'No reason to kill my son like that': Father mourns loss of teen killed on walk to school in Philly

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia police said a 15-year-old male was shot and killed Tuesday morning while walking to school in Tioga-Nicetown.

According to police, the shooting happened at about 7:30 a.m. near 16th Street and Hunting Park Avenue.

Family members have identified the victim as Devin Weedon.

He was walking to Simon Gratz High School Mastery Charter when he was gunned down, police said.

Police have since said the motive behind the shooting was robbery.

Devin Weedon

The victim's father Gary Weedon spoke to Action News about receiving the devastating phone call.

"I got a phone call from someone I didn't know. I'm like, 'Hello, who is it?' And she's, 'Like your son's been shot,'" he recalled.

The 10th grader was killed just two blocks from his school.

Police say he was walking when he got into an altercation with three males who approached him. The suspects were all dressed in black; one in a ski mask.

It's not known whether the assailants were juveniles or adults.

"At some point, one of them produce a handgun and shot him at least one time in the chest," said Sgt. Eric Gripp with the Philadelphia Police Department.

The teen died at Temple University Hospital as his parents were in the waiting area.

"My son, he was one of the best kids in the world," said Gary Weedon. "He was an honor roll student. He got along with everybody."

Devin Weedon dreamed of being a football player. The 10th grader could be seen in his West Philadelphia neighborhood playing football in the streets with his brothers and father.

"He would run around and play with me. It was his favorite sport. He wanted to be a football player," said Gary Weedon.

School leaders say they're devastated by the loss.

A media rep for Mastery Charter confirmed that officers are typically in the area before and after school as part of a program by the School District of Philadelphia to make school walking routes safer. Now there will be an increased presence of officers as the school deals with the tragic reality that one of its students was shot on the way to school.

"Our students worry about walking to school, walking home. And there's not a parent who is not thinking about 'will my child return home safely,'" said Scott Gordon, CEO of Mastery Schools.

Simon Gratz High School Mastery Charter School will have grief counselors on-hand for students and staff grappling with the loss.

Keith Washington, who is an anti-violence advocate, came to the school as students were dismissed early offering help and resources to students.

"They are traumatized right now. Gun violence is so out of hand in the city," he said.

Classes were dismissed at 11 a.m., but some anxious parents picked their children up even earlier.

"Since my son had been here, and he's in the 11th grade, every year somebody is getting shot," said parent Natasha Minor.

Devin Weedon's family is still trying to make sense of why someone would hurt him.

"He was a momma's boy, which is why it's hard for me to wrap my head around why something like this would happen to him," said his older brother, Gary Burnside.

"People that do not have a goal for life will take someone else who has a goal for life," said Devin's uncle, Jason Gill.

The fact that the shooting happened near a school means that an additional $10,000 is being added to the reward for information leading to an arrest. The total reward in the case is $30,000. Anyone with information is asked to call Philadelphia police at 215-686-TIPS. Tips can be left anonymously.

As investigators search for the three suspects who were last seen heading northbound on 16th Street from Hunting Park Avenue, Gary Weedon and his family is left to wonder why anyone would want to hurt Devin.

"It was no reason to kill my son like that," he said.

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