North Philadelphia woman, 21, fatally shot at bar: 'When do you get tired of burying your children?'

Jailene Holton, 21, was fatally shot outside a Philadelphia bar on Tuesday night, and her family is calling for change

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A 21-year-old Philadelphia woman has died after she was shot during an altercation at a bar on Tuesday evening.

Jailene Holton, who was at the bar with friends, was fatally shot in the head after an unidentified suspect opened fire into the Philly Bar & Grill and then fled the scene in a vehicle, according to the Philadelphia Police Department.

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"She's just a good kid that worked hard. She spent most of her time around family. Had a few good friends. She would hang out here and there. She wasn't the type to always be out," Jailene's uncle, James Holton, told Fox News Digital of his niece. "[A] friend came and visit her from Jersey, and they went out yesterday for a little bit. … She had a really great personality, was just was living her life, and she was trying to stay away from any trouble and didn't hit bars like that. It was very unusual for her to even go to a bar."

We need the communities to get involved. The communities know who these guys are. … When do you get tired of burying your children?

— James Holton, uncle of deceased Jailene Holton

Holton said Jailene had only been at the bar for about 15 minutes before the shooting.

Jailene Holton, 21, was fatally shot outside a Philadelphia bar on Tuesday night. 

Jailene Holton, 21, was fatally shot outside a Philadelphia bar on Tuesday night.  (Holton family photo/ FOX 29 Philadelphia)

Police responded to reports of the shooting Tuesday around 11:40 p.m. ET outside the Philly Bar & Grill, which is situated in a strip mall on Welsh Road. Authorities transported Jailene, who had just turned 21 in April, to Jefferson Terresdale Hospital, where she was pronounced dead around 3:30 a.m. ET. 

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Officers with the 8th District recovered a weapon from the scene but did not make any arrests. The suspect is a Black male, but police did not share any further information.

"Be a man for once in your life … because it looks like you haven't been one this far. And then turn yourself in. Save everybody the trouble," Holton said when asked if he has a message for the suspect.

Jailene Holton, 21, was fatally shot outside the Philadelphia Bar & Restaurant on Tuesday evening.

Jailene Holton, 21, was fatally shot outside the Philadelphia Bar & Restaurant on Tuesday evening. (FOX 29 Philadelphia)

Philly saw a record number of homicides last year, with 562 total homicide victims, compared to 499 in 2020 and 356 in 2019. Total violent crime is up about 9% so far in 2022 year-over-year, with armed robberies leading that increase, though homicides are down 8% compared to 2021.

Holton never expected a violent crime such as Tuesday's shooting to impact one of his family members. Jailene lost her mother when she was young, which was the last major tragedy to impact the 21-year-old, he said. 

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"There's a lot of young kids doing it and with [no] fear of consequences. There's no accountability," Holton said of crime in the area. "They're not afraid. The police are limited to what they're doing. … Being from the neighborhoods that I grew up in … I still know people around. And what it is, is the police are not really allowed to pull people over like that for infractions, like a broken tail light out or registration or stickers. And now these kids are driving around with weapons like you wouldn't believe."

Jailene Holton's family described her as 'a good kid that worked hard.'

Jailene Holton's family described her as 'a good kid that worked hard.' (Holton family photo/ FOX 29 Philadelphia)

They're posting on Instagram Live all the time. I've seen it myself. They're bragging about killing children, people. And they're not afraid. There's no accountability. 

— James Holton, uncle of deceased Jailene Holton

Holton sees people "blowing through red lights" every day on his way to work, he said.

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"Nobody cares. And I don't blame the police. I blame the people who are tying their hands," Holton said, adding that "until accountability comes back," violent crime in Philadelphia will continue to rise. 

An investigation into the shooting is active and ongoing. Police have not shared any further information as of Wednesday afternoon.

Jailene's family has created a GoFundMe titled "Funeral Expenses."