Center City teen mob victim speaks
This is the first post in a new blog covering cops and crime in Philadelphia. A victim of last Friday's Center City teen mob attacks describes being beaten by a dozen laughing teens.
Center City teen mob victim speaks
Jeremy Schenkel was trying to catch a train home when he became the first victim of last Friday night's Center City teen mob attacks. Around 9 p.m., the 23-year-old Somerton resident had just left his job as a building engineer at the 1500 Locust Apartments. He was walking north on 15th Street near Sansom.
It was a normal summer weekend night. People were out and about, but, overall, it was pretty quiet, he said.
Then he saw a big mob of teens running towards him. There were about two-dozen males out front and a large group of girls behind them, he said.
For a split second, he said the thought of a "flash mob" crossed his mind, but the teens didn't look angry, he said.
"They were laughing and making comments, and I just figured they were a group of kids running around doing something stupid."
He moved out of the way, trying to let the crowd pass. A shirtless kid was leading the pack.
"One of them said something to get my attention, but I barely looked over," he said.
That's when the shirtless kid punched him in the head, he said.
Schenkel fell against a car, then to the ground. His glasses flew off, cracked. He tried to shield himself.
"They were throwing kicks at my legs and punches to my back and my head," he said.
Schenkel, who is studying communications so he can join the Army as a journalist, was carrying his leather briefcase. One of the kids beating him - an 11-year-old, according to a police report - tried ripping the bag away, but the straps were stuck around his neck.
The teens were laughing as they beat him, he said. The girls were too.
"They were laughing about it, like they were having a good time," he said.
It was over as quickly as it began, he said. The 11-year-old gave up on the bag. They didn't get anything from him. The mob ran towards Walnut Street.
As Schenkel reached for his glasses, one of the teens taunted him.
"It's not our fault you don't know how to fight," he said.
Some people stopped to help him. His jaw hurt, and he was bruised up a bit, but otherwise all right, he said.
"The police were there in about 30 seconds," he said.
The cops asked him if he could identify his attackers. He hopped in the cruiser.
According to police, after beating Schenkel, the teen mob then proceeded to punch and kick a homeless man to the ground and rob another man of his cell-phone. Schenkel and the cops caught up to them at Walnut and Juniper, where they were beating a 59-year-old man bloody and unconscious.
One cop took off on foot, while the other officer used the cruiser to cut off a few in the pack.
The teens were still laughing, Schenkel said.
"It looked like they all thought it was fun," he said.
Schenkel identified his attacker. He saw paramedics loading the 59-year-old into an ambulance and heard about another guy who got his teeth kicked in during the attacks.
"I came away pretty lucky," he said.
"I know my city well enough to know it's a great place to live," he said. "It's just a disappointment that something like this can even happen."
He wants to hear more about Mayor Nutter's pending plan to deal with the attacks.
"I hope whatever plan he's putting together gets to the source of it all," Schenkel said. "The fact that eleven and twelve year old kids are participating in this kind of activity is sadder than anything else."