Group attacks Havertown teen as bystanders record; police search for suspects

TaRhonda Thomas Image
Friday, June 23, 2023
Group attacks Havertown teen as bystanders record
Investigators say bystanders recorded video of the attack. It's led to one arrest and a search for five other suspects who police say may have been after the victim's shoes.

HAVERTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Police are looking for five people who attacked a teen on a basketball court in Haverford Township, Delaware County.

Investigators say bystanders recorded video of the attack. It's led to one arrest and a search for five other suspects who police say may have been after the victim's shoes.

"They are punching, kicking and beating on this kid when he's laying on the ground," said Deputy Chief Joseph Hagan of the Haverford Township Police Department.

The video is disturbing as it shows six teen boys attacking a 15-year-old boy. Police say it happened at 9:15 p.m. Monday in the 100 block of Glen Arbor Road in Havertown. The victim had gone there to play basketball not expecting to get jumped.

"He apparently ran to a neighbor's house banging on the neighbors door asking for help," said Hagan.

The neighbor called 911 unlike any of the teen bystanders who can be seen in the video with their phones out. Police say the bystanders were all apparently recording the attack.

"Not calling 911, not trying to help the kid on the ground," said Hagan. "It's kind of disturbing that these other individuals were standing around, just filming it this poor kid on the ground."

One of the recordings from that night ended up being the key piece of evidence for investigators.

"One of the kids put it up on social media and we were able to get that video off social media," said Hagan.

The suspects are believed to be between 14 and 17 years old. Police have arrested one of them.

"They're facing at least aggravated assault, robbery and other related offenses," said Hagan.

The teen suspect who was arrested was in possession of the victim's shoes: a pair of Yeezy slides that police say the attackers may have been after. A current listing shows the shoes can cost up to around $300.

In the video, the victim screams to the attackers as they were after the shoes. He can be heard screaming, "Just take them, bro!"

Those attackers, though, continued to chase and punch the victim.

One neighbor, who didn't want to go on camera, says juveniles have been causing problems in the area for a while. The neighbor says the midnight curfew for kids in Havertown doesn't make a difference since a lot of the nuisance behavior happens before midnight. Police are trying to address the issue.

"We have increased patrols in the parks," said Hagan of the efforts.

Officers advise parents to know where their children are as they continue to look for the other five teen attackers.

"We're looking for five other individuals," said Hagan. "We were able to identify two so far and we're confident we'll identify the other four (of the six original suspects)."

The boy who was attacked is doing ok, physically. His mom is still too shaken up to go on camera but she says she's glad police are working to find the suspect. She also says Delaware County needs a stronger system for dealing with juvenile crimes. She's disheartened that kids would record her son being attacked.

Police urge parents to remind their kids if they see any attack-- instead of recording, they should call 911.

Haverford Township police are seeking the public's help to identify the remaining five suspects. Anyone with information is asked to call 610-853-1298 and ask for the Detective Division.