PHILADELPHIA – A 15-year-old boy has turned himself in after a 13-year-old boy was fatally shot in the face while a group of kids was playing with a gun, authorities said Thursday.
Officer Tanya Little, a spokeswoman for Philadelphia police, confirmed that the teen surrendered but said no charges had been filed in the Wednesday night shooting.
The boys were playing with a gun in the backyard of a home in the city's East Germantown neighborhood when the 13-year-old was shot, police said. He died at a hospital.
Police said they've recovered the gun believed to be involved and are investigating where it came from.
The teen's shooting death came a week after a 4-year-old girl apparently shot herself to death in her North Philadelphia home. The girl's mother faces charges including third-degree murder and endangering the welfare of a child. Police also accuse her of trying to cover up how the child died in the June 23 shooting, though they say it does appear the gunshot wound to the girl's right eye was self-inflicted.
City shootings involving children are not uncommon as guns continue to float around neighborhoods, said Colwin Williams, an outreach worker with violence intervention group Philadelphia CeaseFire.
"There are guns out here like you can get a pack of cigarettes," Williams said.
Philadelphia CeaseFire is organizing a vigil Thursday evening. Williams said the vigil will memorialize the boy and open up dialogue about gun violence and young people's tendencies to mimic what they see from adults in their neighborhoods.
"A lot of these children are watching (adults) and emulating them, but are not realizing the magnitude of the firearm," he said.
Williams said he spoke with one of the boy's relatives after the shooting.
"This baby didn't even have a chance to start the dream yet. Summertime's just starting and he should be having fun at the pool or the playground," Williams said. "It's really getting crazy out here."
Police have not said whether any adults were at the residence when the 13-year-old was shot.