Authorities are reporting that a 4-year-old girl was shot and killed while inside her home in northeast Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon. The gun used belonged to her parent and the shooter – her 5-year-old brother.
According to 6ABC, the shooting occurred inside a home in Upper Kensington on East Mayfield Street at approximately 2:25 p.m. Police have stated that the 4-year-old was killed when she was shot one time, the bullet striking her in the face, and responding emergency medical personnel officially pronounced the girl dead at the scene by 2:30.
Thus far there has been no arrests made in the case but the gun, a semiautomatic pistol, was recovered inside of the home where the girl was shot. No possible motive for the shooting, nor the circumstances which could have led up to the event has been released by the police. The identity of the 4-year-old girl has also not yet been made public either, though the media have spoken to and identified family members.
Captain James Clark with the city’s homicide division has stated that investigators will be working to locate and interview everyone who had been in the house at the time of the shooting. Clark has stated that the girl’s father, 30-year-old Maurice “Stephon” Phillips, could not be found after the little girl was shot in the face. He was reportedly at the scene when it occurred and it is unknown why he fled.
“We desperately need to find the father, who for whatever reason, fled the scene. We’re looking for him.”
The gun is believed to belong to the father and his Facebook page has a number of pictures of guns strewn in with pictures of him and his family.
Incoming reports have stated that homicide detectives have been present at the scene of the little girl’s shooting attempting to piece together any details which would reveal what led up to the incident and who pulled the trigger in the home. Police have stated that the girl lived at the home with her mother, father and six other siblings.
Interviews with neighbors have revealed that the mother was actually very protective of her children and only allowed them to play in the backyard, never in the front as the neighborhood is reportedly notorious for crime, drugs such as heroin, crack cocaine, marijuana and even has needles scattered in the streets. Philly.com says that even as the police gathered to investigate the death of the little girl by gunshot to the face drug deals continued around the neighborhood.
In fact the block where the shooting occurred is called the ‘gun grid’ by local police. The 24th District police have put the count of drug arrests in that area per year as over 3,000.
Now, the mother who feared criminal activity in the neighborhood could possibly affect her children on the streets, has had her little girl killed by a shot to the face while inside her home. Neighbor Louise Sawyer, recalled the response when she suggested to the mother of six to carry them outside to play. “[She said] No I’m not bringing these kids out here with all this trouble.”
CBS Philadelphia also wrote of an interview with another friend of the victim’s family by the name of Crystal Dougherty who commented that the 4-year-old was very well liked in the neighborhood.
“She was a sweet, loving, little girl. She was full of life. She was always willing to help. She was a great big sister to her little brother.”
Investigation into the shooting is still ongoing.
[Image via Carl Ballou/Shutterstock]