Fire, gunfire and sickness plague Delco this week

Arson fires, stray bullets and stomach viruses have ripped through Delaware County this week, making it an even more dangerous and bizarre place than usual.

On Wednesday, four people were shot in Chester, one of them an 82-year-old woman who was hit by a stray bullet that went through her window while she was watching television. 

Then today, before the sun was up, someone apparently broke into Penn Wood High School in Lansdowne and set two fires inside, shutting the school down for the rest of the week.

Over at Saint Katharine of Siena School in Wayne, 120 kids and three teachers called out sick today with an apparent stomach bug.

Chester, which consistently has more shootings and murders than anywhere else in Delco, marked a bad day Wednesday. It began around 3:10 a.m., when a man went to answer the door of his home on 22nd Street near Wetherill Street and was shot once in the chin by two unknown men dressed in black, police said. That victim is listed in stable condition at Crozer Chester Medical Center.

Also in stable condition at Crozer is a 35-year-old man who was shot in the leg at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday near a basketball court at 11th and Upland streets in Chester. Police said a man in an orange construction vest and a black face mask walked up to the court and began shooting.

Then, at around 1:30 p.m., an unknown shooter or shooters opened fire on 21st near Crozer, just two blocks away from the day's first shooting scene. Two people were injured in that hail of gunfire, including an 82-year-old innocent victim. Police said a stray bullet went through the window of Edith Hardy's home and struck her in the neck as she was watching television.

She "staggered" out of her house, police said, and neighbors stayed with her until paramedics arrived.

Hardy was initially listed in critical condition at Crozer but a member of her family told me today that while she can't talk yet, she is responsive and doing well.

The second victim in that shooting was a 21-year-old male, who was believed to be the intended target. That man, whose identity has not been released, was shot in the head and listed at Crozer in critical condition.

Police have no motives or suspects in any of the cases.