Aaron Searight was hanging out at a prom party for a teenage neighbor on his West Philadelphia block Thursday night when a gunman fired shots into the crowd, killing the 23-year-old man, according to relatives and neighbors.

"People are really hurting," his oldest brother, Kamal Searight, 40, said Friday afternoon as he sat on the porch of his family's home on the 600 block of South 55th Street. "He was a good kid."

Aaron Searight
Courtesy of family
Aaron Searight

It happened about 8:45 p.m. Police said a young male wearing a gray hoodie fired from across the street, hitting Searight in the head. He was pronounced dead at 2:15 a.m. Friday at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center.

Kamal Searight said he was not on the block when the shooting took place, but his two other brothers, ages 27 and 30, were on their family's porch. They ran across the street and saw Aaron Searight lying on the sidewalk in front of the teen's house, Kamal Searight said.

Before the shooting, the teen for whom the party was held, a senior at Boys' Latin of Philadelphia Charter School, and his date had headed off to their prom, said Kamal Searight, who left the party about 7:45 p.m.

He said about 60 to 70 people attended the party.

Police still were searching for the gunman late Friday afternoon. The motive for the shooting was not immediately known.

Sitting on another porch and crying, Erica Simmons, 38, a cousin of the Searights, also mourned the young man. "He loved basketball," she said. "He would take the kids [on the block] out. He played with them. They tried to hop on his back."

Family members of the teen who held the prom party did not answer their door Friday.

Keith Rodgers, 55, who also lives on the block, said he was several houses away at the time of the shooting. He heard one shot, then "rapid shooting" with several more shots.

"I seen everyone ducking behind cars, running on porches, and laying on the ground," said Rodgers, who did not see the shooter.

Tipsters can call the Citizens Crime Commission at 215-546-TIPS (8477) or homicide detectives at 215-686-3334. A $20,000 reward is offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction.