When Deborah Proctor saw a 12-year-old boy lying on the sidewalk, blood oozing from a gunshot wound to his chest, she feared he was one of her students. But the boy, who police say has a record for narcotics offenses, was the intended target of an afternoon shooting at 61st and Spruce streets in West Philadelphia yesterday. “Looking at his face I could these faces,” said Proctor, an after-school instructor, pointing toward the group of rambuctious youth who filled the corridor in the center she runs near the scene of the shooting. It just rips my heart apart.”
Police said the victim was sitting in the front passenger seat of his mother’s car, while she picked up his sister, when an unknown shooter walked up and fired five rounds into the vehicle about 3:30, police said. The youth was struck in the left hand and chest. Moments later, his mother ran after the gunman, who tucked the gun in his waistband, and fled on 60th Street, police said. She lost track of him about a block away, and ran inside a daycare center for help. “The bloodcurdling screams of the mother...I will never forget it,” said Monica Mason, who was inside the center when she heard the gunshots and screams. When the gunshots rang out, Proctor — whose center houses both a computer training program for adults and an after-school program — said she and the kids fell to the floor and covered their heads. She then ran outside, down the block, toward the crowd gathering around the wounded boy, who lay outside the vehicle. “You could see him struggling [to breathe],” she said. “He was so scared. Neighbors were trying to stop the blood. His eyes glazed over and people were screaming for him to hold on. Regardless what that boy did, he didn’t have to experience that.”
The boy was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania where he underwent more than two hours of surgery, said Chief Inspector Scott Small. He’s now listed in critical but stable condition. Police sources said the mother of the victim denies her son’s involvement in drugs, although authorities say the shooting may have been drug-related. But Proctor worries that more violence will come out of this. “I saw two young boys walk up and look at the boy’s face and say, ‘Yo, that’s my cousin! They shot my cousin!’ and they ran off,” she said. She said she fears a retaliation shooting. She said she’ll keep working to help others from getting hurt. “Something has to happen to stop this senseless violence,” she said. “I felt motivated by President Obama and I thought everyone else was motivated. It seems so hopeless, but I refuse to give up.”
Anyone with information, contact Southwest Detectives at 215-686-3183, 84.