Four juveniles have been arrested in a series of violent incidents Friday night near Temple University's main campus in North Philadelphia.
According to Temple security, a group of over 150 juveniles coordinated a “meet up” on Instagram, amassing on Broad Street near the campus at approximately 8 p.m.
Four youths, ranging in ages between 14 and 17, were arrested in connection with wide-ranging attacks on Temple students, others in the crowd, and two Temple police officers that seemed to mimic the “flash mobs” that hit Center City in recent years.
In one incident, police say a group of three that included two students were assaulted by a group of about 20 juveniles. The trio were kicked, punched, and knocked to the ground. One of the students, Christina Lauletta, was hospitalized at St. Mary’s Hospital, according to her father.
“These sick animals held her down and kicked and stomped on her repeatedly,” Joe Lauletta posted on Facebook, noting workers at a local pizza shop intervened. “Every part of her body is badly bruised. It makes me cry just thinking about it.”
Out of the group, two offenders were identified, arrested and face multiple charges, including aggravated assault, robbery, and criminal conspiracy.
Students weren’t the only ones involved in the violence. One 15-year-old, who police say was seen throwing rocks at passing cars, knocked an officer pursuing him on bicycle to the ground. He was later apprehended and charged with aggravated assault and resisting arrest, among other offenses.
In probably the most brazen act of violence, police say a 16-year-old came up to a mounted officer and punched the police horse twice in the face. Police later apprehended him and charged him with assaulting a police service animal.
Three other victims told police they were walking east in the 1700 block of Cecil B. Moore Ave. when large group of juveniles began hitting and kicking them. One of the victims, a 18-year-old female, sustained scrapes and cuts to her legs, and had her cell phone smashed. The others say the teens stole items ranging from an iPhone to a Bluetooth speaker.
No arrests were made in that incident.
Police haven’t released any further information about the suspects due to their ages.
Friday night, students were upset that Temple issued a "TU alert" about “large groups of juveniles along Broad Street” almost two hours after the violence had erupted.
. @TempleUniv I got this TU alert 2 hrs after I was (& many other people were) attacked. Please do a better job of alerting when it happens
— Milanka Bee (@milankabee) October 22, 2016
Charles Leone, Temple’s executive director of public safety, says he is taking steps to streamline the process so future "TU alerts" can go out faster when a large group of juveniles is reported.