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8 Northeast High School students shot in Philadelphia near SEPTA bus stop; 4 suspects wanted: police

Police looking for 4 suspects in connection with Northeast Philadelphia shooting
Police looking for 4 suspects in connection with Northeast Philadelphia shooting 02:32

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Police believe they've recovered the getaway car involved in Wednesday's shooting that left eight Northeast High School students injured near a SEPTA bus station at Rising Sun and Cottman avenues in Northeast Philadelphia.

Deputy Commissioner Frank Vanore said Thursday that a 2018 blue Hyundai Sonata was found around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday in the 400 block of West Fern Street in the city's Olney neighborhood.

Vanore said the Hyundai was stolen in the city's 7th police district in Northeast Philadelphia.

"We are moving toward knowing more about what happened yesterday and who we may be looking for," Vanore said.

Police responded to a report of a stolen car on March 2 in the area and found a stolen gray Kia Sportage parked, Vanore said.

Investigators believe the four people stole the Kia, took it to the location in the 7th district and then stole the Hyundai, Vanore said. Police are collecting evidence from both cars.

Police said the victims' ages range from 15 to 17 years old. One, a 16-year-old, was shot nine times in the torso and placed in critical condition. All of the others are in stable condition, police said.

Police believe the 16-year-old may have been targeted.  

"Enough is enough," Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker said. "Every law enforcement partner that we have here in the city of Philadelphia is actively engaged and working together to ensure that every resource that is needed is readily available so that the work can be done to solve the crimes."

Deadly Bus Shootings Philadelphia
Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker speaks with the media following a shooting in Northeast Philadelphia on Wednesday, March 6, 2024. Four shootings over four days in Philadelphia left three dead and 12 injured, many of them children — violence that put renewed focus on safety within the sprawling mass transit system and gave ammunition to critics of the city's progressive chief prosecutor. Joe Lamberti / AP

Police are searching for three masked shooters and a getaway driver who was inside a dark blue Hyundai Sonata with paper tags.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel said as the students were getting onto a SEPTA bus, three shooters exited the car near a Dunkin' and fired more than 30 shots.

Police released surveillance video that shows the gunmen hopping out of the car, firing shots in the direction of a bus and then fleeing the scene in the dark blue Hyundai.

Suspects wanted by police for shooting eight high school students. 

Eleven juveniles have been shot in Philadelphia following Monday's shooting at a bus stop in Ogontz. Police said it's unclear if the two shootings are connected. 

"It is hard to sit here and see in three days and have 11 juveniles shot who were going and coming from school," said Bethel, who became police commissioner after serving as the Philadelphia school district's chief of school safety. "The cowardly acts we've seen over the past three days are unacceptable. The fact that we've had this situation - where I've talked about it multiple times - the downstream impact when we don't address gun violence and don't address guns is what we see today."

SEPTA said a Route 18 bus and Route 67 bus were struck by gunfire in the area of Rising Sun Avenue and St. Vincent Street. According to SEPTA, no one on the bus was struck.

SEPTA Transit Police are reviewing video from the area and assisting Philly police in the investigation.

Police said no arrests have been made and they still don't have a motive.

The recent shootings have raised concerns about the safety of students traveling to and from school.

Police said they're making school zones a priority, hoping to prevent more violence.

"I think you're going to see more officers in those corridors, around the schools and in the SEPTA routes starting today," Vanore said.

Police recover stolen car involved in Northeast Philadelphia shooting 16:29

Philadelphia officials to use every resource to solve shooting

In a press conference hours after the shooting, Parker, Bethel and District Attorney Larry Krasner vowed to ramp up resources to solve the shooting and bring justice.

On her way to becoming mayor, Parker ran a campaign on making Philly the "safest, cleanest, greenest big city" in the United States and echoed that sentiment Wednesday.

Philadelphia officials give updates on 8 students shot near SEPTA bus stop in Northeast Philly 17:28

"You need to know that we are going to do everything that we can to ensure your public health and safety," Parker said, "and we don't apologize for using every legal and constitutional tool in our toolbelts in order to get that done."

Krasner, who was moved to tears talking about Monday's deadly shooting in Ogontz, said his office will vigorously prosecute those responsible for the shooting.  

"We will give them the consequences that they absolutely deserve for this devastating and horrifying act," Krasner said. 

Northeast High School to be virtual for rest of the week

Northeast High School will be virtual for the rest of the week following Wednesday's shooting that left eight students wounded.

The district's emergency crisis response team will still be on-site at Northeast High to help students with grief counseling and other emotional assistance, Superintendent Tony Watlington said. Counselors will also be available at the Crossan School, about a mile from Northeast High.

Rickey Duncan, CEO and founder of NOMO Foundation, discusses Philadelphia mass shooting 06:11

The district also has two online tools - Kooth and Lyra Health - for students and staff to access for mental health support. 

"On behalf of all children and families in the school district, we are just heartbroken and angry that innocent children walking home from school would be impacted by gun violence," Watlington said. "We agree with the mayor - enough is enough."

Bethel "never thought" he would get shot while coming from school as a kid

Bethel reflected on going to Bartram High School in Southwest Philly as a teen and said it was the "safest place" he could ever be.

"I never, ever thought that anyone would shoot me walking to school or kill me at the doorstep of a school, or let alone, getting on the bus two blocks down," the police commissioner said, "so to those parents and those children, yeah, it's very traumatic."

Bethel also called upon parents to be more engaged with their kids as more of them continue to be shooting victims in Philadelphia. 

Philadelphia Councilmember Anthony Phillips speaks after 8 Northeast High students shot 07:52

"Their parents need to get engaged," Bethel said. "We've said this multiple times. I asked every parent today, go in those rooms and look at those tables and look in those closets and get those guns out of the house. Because at the end of the day, many of these kids are coming from the same communities where they're shooting at, and they know who they are. And the community knows who they are. We can't do this by ourselves."

Recent shootings involving SEPTA

Wednesday's shooting wasn't the first in Philadelphia at a SEPTA bus stop this week. 

On Tuesday, 37-year-old Carmelo Drayton was fatally shot on a SEPTA bus in South Philly at the intersection of Broad Street and Snyder Avenue.

Five people, including three teens, were shot at a SEPTA bus stop in Ogontz on Monday, similar to Wednesday's shooting.

The three teens shot, including 17-year-old Dayemen Taylor, who died, were students at Imhotep Institute Charter High School. Two other victims, a 71-year-old woman and a 50-year-old, were also wounded.

On Tuesday night, a 37-year-old man identified by police as Carmelo Drayton was fatally shot on a SEPTA bus in South Philly at the intersection of Broad Street and Snyder Avenue. 

Over the weekend, police said a man was killed in Oxford Circle after getting into an argument with someone on a SEPTA bus. When the victim got off the bus late Sunday, he was fatally shot.

"This does not just kill and harm the people who were struck with the bullets," Krasner said. "This is a devastating, disabling, horrifying event for every child who was out here. Every child who goes to that school. Every parent whose child goes to that school. Every person who rides public transit and a city that lives by its schools and it lives by its public transit."

Northeast Philly community reeling after shooting

The Northeast Philadelphia community is reeling after Wednesday's shooting.

Holly, who works at nearby Quaker Diner, said she ran outside and saw kids who were shot lying in the street. She described a gruesome situation.

"It's scary, and I can't believe it happened, to look down and see all these kids shot, lying on the ground, and it's raining," she said. "This one kid is sitting there, holding his one friend's head. He's on the ground, puddles of blood around him. He was pleading with his friend, saying, 'Keep your eyes open, stay with me, you're going to be OK.'"

Holly said she never worried about shootings growing up in the area.

Doris, who also works at the diner, said she tried to stay calm as kids ran into the restaurant seeking safety and to help them remain calm.

"I just don't know what these kids are thinking sometimes, killing each other, kids killing kids," she said. "I don't know, I guess for me, I'm just glad that my kids are out of school now and are adults, and I don't have to worry about something like this with my children, taking a bus home, just wanting to go home after school."

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