PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A spokesperson for Burger King said the company was offering support to the family of a teen employee who was fatally shot in Philadelphia's West Oak Lane section early Thursday.
According to police, 16-year-old Mekhi Parlow, of the 6700 block of North 18th Street was shot along 19th Street near 71st Avenue. He was shot in the head, police said.
"Just the fact that it was someone's child...because I have children and that's what resonated with me is that it was a young person and it's happening way too much," said neighbor Bobbie Hall.
Police said they found eight spent shell casings along with a Burger King hat and two sneakers in the middle of the road several feet from where Parlow was collapsed on a sidewalk. Parlow was a Burger King employee.
"We believe these sneakers belonged to the victim and he may have ran out of these sneakers in an attempt to get away for whoever was firing the shots," said Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small.
In a statement issued Friday, a Burger King spokesperson said they were saddened to hear of the shooting and offered support to Parlow's family.
"We're deeply saddened to hear of the fatal shooting that took place involving a team member. Our deepest condolences go out to their family and friends during this devastating time. Through our BK McLamore Foundation, we plan to lend support to the family dealing with this loss."
"The person didn't deserve to die like that no one deserves to die like that," Hall said.
Investigators believe there were at least three to four suspects and that the shooter ditched a car in the back driveway of one of the homes before leaving the area.
"When we run the license plate, it comes up stolen during a home invasion robbery in the Northeast part of the city just recently," Small said.
Small did not specify which home invasion the car is linked to.
People who live in the area are calling on parents to be more involved and additional community resources.
"One of the elements that we need is love because there has been a great self-hatred within the black community and we need to really bring that back, that greatness of love and self-esteem," said neighbor Naji Muhammad of the Black Male Community Council of Philadelphia.
Muhammad said they're working to promote the importance of self-respect and unity.
"That's what we need to understand is that we are one community. When one family hurts, we all should hurt," Muhammad said.
Investigators said they're working to question more witnesses as they try to track down the suspects.
"My heart just sank," said Sean Snyder, Mekhi's homeroom teacher at Math Civics and Science Charter School.
Snyder last spoke with him Wednesday morning as he was getting students ready for a Friday.
"He was spot on reviewing for the quiz. Almost wanted to answer every question, said Snyder. "I had to say 'Mekhi let someone else answer.'"
Already having lost 11th grader Ceani Smalls in 2019, Snyder says he knew something wasn't right when Mekhi didn't log onto virtual learning Thursday morning.
"The thing that really made me worried is, normally, Even if he oversleeps, he texts sorry," said Snyder. "But he never responded to any of my text messages."
"It's like losing a family member," said Veronica Joyner.
Parlow is the latest student to be a victim of gun violence in the last two years. Students and staff are planning a vigil for Mekhi next Thursday.
Anyone with information about the incident or the shooter is asked to contact detectives.