Gianmarco Silvester was talking with his friends when, just steps away, a gunman got out of a car and opened fire on a group of Abraham Lincoln High School students after dismissal time Monday afternoon.
The shots killed a 65-year-old driver who happened to be passing by the Mayfair school and severely wounded a 16-year-old Lincoln student.
“I wasn’t thinking,” Silvester, a Lincoln freshman, told Metro Tuesday. “I was running.”
Senior Yully Hou said she was a block or two away at the time of the shooting and didn’t learn about it until receiving a school email.
“At first, I heard a sound,” she said. “I didn’t know what happened.”
Twenty-four hours after the violent incident, there was a significant police presence at Ryan and Rowland avenues, the corner where the shooting took place, and an anti-violence advocate preached with a loudspeaker from the trunk of a box truck.
Students remained rattled as they walked home, headed to catch a bus or waited for a ride.
“I was in shock because there were a lot of students around at that time,” said Khyaire Epperson, a Lincoln senior who knows the younger victim’s brother. “We should not fear going home from school.”
Support staff was deployed to Lincoln on Tuesday to help students who may have been affected by the shooting, a School District of Philadelphia spokesperson said.
Plainclothes officers in the area immediately arrested the suspect, a 21-year-old man. Officers also took another person into custody, believed to be the gunman’s teenage brother.
Authorities had not released their names at the time Metro went to print.
The driver, Jeffrey Carter, who lived in Fox Chase, was shot in the head, and his SUV crashed into the front schoolyard. He died about two hours later.
Police said the 16-year-old boy was rushed to Jefferson Torresdale Hospital in critical condition with a gunshot wound to his head and neck.
Maria Roman, 41, who lives in an apartment upstairs from a pizza shop at the corner, said she was sitting near her front bay window with her children when she heard six to 10 gunshots.
She rushed her kids to a back room, and, when she returned, she saw police apprehend the gunman and witnessed first responders pull Carter’s lifeless body from his vehicle. Students ran up Roman’s steps and tried to get into her apartment for protection.
Her 10-year-old daughter’s school, the brand-new Northeast Community Propel Academy, which sits behind Lincoln, was still in session and placed on lockdown.
Disturbances outside the high school have been frequent, Roman said, citing gunfire last week and a major fight last month.
“I think it’s going to continue,” she said. “I think it’s going to get worse.”
Roman grew up in North Philadelphia and moved her family to Mayfair six years ago to escape frequent violence. Now, she’s afraid to walk to the park or let her kids play with chalk on the front steps.
“I will not raise children here any further,” said Roman, who is pregnant and due in February. “I don’t want to give birth here.”