A car thief was beaten to death after stealing a vehicle with three young children inside on Thursday night. According to Philadelphia police, the car thief was beaten by the children's father as well as several bystanders.
NBC Philadelphia reports the frightening situation took place just after 9 p.m. on Thursday night. An unnamed 25-year-old woman parked her Hyundai sedan outside of the pizza shop on the north side of the city where her boyfriend (and the father of two of the children) worked.
The mother reported leaving her three small children – ages 7 months, 1 and 5 – in the vehicle with the vehicle running while she went inside the restaurant visiting her boyfriend.
The duo were caught off guard when an older man who the police later identified to be 54-year-old Eric Hood – jumped into the vehicle and quickly drove off with all three children inside.
The boyfriend reportedly chased after the carjacker who managed to drive the vehicle for roughly half a block before becoming trapped in traffic.
Investigators confirmed that the father was able to catch up with the vehicle and yank the car thief out of the car before proceeding to beat him. Several witnesses stepped up to join the father in pummeling the man who stole his girlfriend's vehicle with the children inside.
When first responders arrived at the scene, the car thief was unconscious and suffering from severe injuries to both his face and head. He was rushed to Temple University where he was pronounced dead a little more than an hour after he stole the vehicle.Both the mother and father were taken into custody to answer additional questions about what happened.
Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small confirmed to local media outlets that both parents are cooperating with the investigation as the homicide unit and the District Attorney's Office work to determine whether to charge the father for the death of the carjacker.
Authorities have also pulled security camera footage from businesses in the area to get a better idea of the circumstances.
The children were not harmed during the incident and later spent the night with relatives.Multiple media outlets on various social media platforms commented on the story including thousands who took to Twitter to share their thoughts regarding the incident. While some praised the father for his quick thinking to chase after the vehicle, others questioned the mother's decision to leave the children alone in the vehicle in the first place.
"Okay but why would you leave your super young kids alone in a running car? I'm glad he did what he had to do to get them back but I can't get over leaving your kids unattended like that. I'm side-eying the mother right now," one Twitter user penned in response to the story.Some Twitter users criticized the father for taking extreme action as they did not believe the carjacker deserved to die.
Other Twitter users admitted to having very mixed feelings about how the story unfolded.