Saturday, September 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Three youths in teen mob attacks will remain in custody.

"These were completely vicious and random attacks on strangers," prosecutor said.

Three youths in teen mob attacks will remain in custody.

Three youths arrested in last Friday's Center City teen mob attacks will remain in custody until an August 18 hearing, a judge ruled Friday morning.

The two male teens, 17, and 16, have been held at the Youth Study Center since attacks near 15th and Walnut, that left three people bloodied and another man unconscious. An 11-year-old boy also charged in the assaults has been held at another juvenile justice detention facility, officials said.

The teens sat handcuffed at the defendant's table, their parents a few rows behind them. The pint-sized 11-year-old was not handcuffed.

All are charged with assault, theft, riot and criminal conspiracy. At the hearing, defense attorneys asked the children be released to their families.

Judge Kevin Doughterty denied the requests. He also appointed legal counsel to the parents of the 11-year-old for a detailed review of the boy's family and living situation.

The teens were part of a group of about 20 to 30 black teens, according to police, that began attacking victims around 9 p.m. Friday night.

Jeremy Schenkel, a 23-year-old building engineer, was on his way home to the Northeast when he ran into the teens at 15th near Sansom.

"They were laughing and making comments," he said, afterward. "I just figured they were a group of kids running around doing something stupid.

He tried to let them pass, he said.

Then one of the youths punched him in the head, setting off a rampage that has prompted city officials to flood Center City with police officers this weekend, and draw a pledge for a comprehensive response from Mayor Nutter.

In a matter of minutes, the teens beat and robbed three more victims, culminating in the savage attack of a 59-year-old man at Walnut and Juniper. That man was brought to the hospital with a cracked skull.

"I have been a prosecutor for a long time," said assistant district attorney, Leslie Gomez after the hearing. "Typically when doing juvenile crime you can see a reason for an attack, there's an aggression, there's a slight, something that sets someone off. These were completely vicious and random attacks on strangers, one after the other after the other."

None of the victims were in court Friday.

Raymond Gatling, 19, of North Philadelphia, was charged in the attacks as an adult. He is held on $25,000 bail and faces an August 18th preliminary hearing in common pleas court.

If found guilty of the crimes, the three youths can be placed in juvenile detention facilities to the age of 21.

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