Cops: Teen gunned down on Hartranft playground

A 17-year-old boy was cut down tonight, killed in a brazen shooting that took place as about 100 people looked on, police said.

Just before 9 p.m., officers on patrol in the area near the Hartranft playground, on Cumberland Street near 8th, heard a series of gunshots, said Chief Inspector Scott Small.

When they arrived, they found a large crowd of people gathered around the playground's basketball court. In the center of the court lay the victim, who had been shot several times in his head and torso, said Small.

Medics pronounced him dead at the scene minutes later.

Witnesses told police that the gunfire broke out during a well-attended neighborhood cookout, but weren't sure what sparked the violence. Ballistic evidence shows that the teen was shot on the basketball court, and, given the proximity of the shell casings to his body, was likely the intended target of the attack, Small said.

A male suspect, believed to 17 years old as well, was seen fleeing the scene on foot in the wake of the incident, Small said.

Those witnesses are being interviewed by Homicide Unit detectives tonight, and investigators are reviewing footage from nearby surveillance cameras that captured the incident, said Small.