Simon Gratz student gunned down walking to school

A 15-year-old student at Mastery’s Simon Gratz High School was fatally shot Tuesday morning.
Jack Tomczuk

A 15-year-old boy was shot and killed Tuesday morning while walking to Mastery Charter’s Simon Gratz High School in the Nicetown section of North Philadelphia.

Police said he was shot once in the chest just before 7:45 a.m. at 16th Street and Hunting Park Avenue, about two blocks from the school’s campus and near Gratz’s football stadium. He died a short time later at Temple University Hospital.

The boy was involved in an altercation with three young men dressed in black – one of whom pulled out a gun, a police spokesperson told reporters. Investigators said the group was last seen heading north on 16th Street.

Authorities did not publicly identify the victim, a 10th grader. No one was arrested in the immediate aftermath of the killing.

A police van is seen parked at 16th Street and Hunting Park Avenue, where a Simon Gratz student was fatally shot Tuesday.Jack Tomczuk

Additional police officers and security guards were present as students left the building early on Tuesday.

Gratz students, as well as those at Mastery Prep Middle School, located on the same block, were dismissed at 11 a.m., and grief counselors were available through 1 p.m., a spokesperson for the charter network said.

The shooting came a day after a woman opened fire inside a Christian school in Nashville, leaving six people dead.

City Council President Darrell Clarke, in response to the Gratz shooting, echoed calls for legislators to enact more stringent gun control measures.

“We will keep working every day to break this destructive cycle of violence but we urge our leaders in Washington and Harrisburg to display the political will and courage necessary to pass sensible stronger gun laws,” Clarke said in a statement. “There is no time to wait.”

Since the beginning of the year, seven people under the age of 18 have been killed in shootings in Philadelphia, according to the City Controller’s gun violence dashboard. Earlier this month, 15-year-old Kensington High School student Neko Rivera was gunned down in Northeast Philadelphia.