A 19-year-old man was hospitalized with serious injuries after he was shot late Monday night on an underground Market-Frankford Line platform near City Hall.
He is the fifth person shot on SEPTA property this month – an alarming trend that led transit police officials last week to enforce a ban on riders wearing ski masks.
Authorities said that Monday’s shooting occurred just before 11:45 p.m. at 15th Street Station on the MFL’s westbound platform. The victim was rushed to Jefferson University Hospital with a gunshot wound to his lower abdomen, according to police. He is expected to survive.
No one was immediately arrested, and investigators have not commented on a possible motive. Anyone with information is asked to contact transit police at 215-580-8111.
SEPTA security cameras captured footage of the suspect. He was wearing a mask, though several images show him with the covering pulled down.
So far this year, there have been nine shootings at SEPTA stations and inside vehicles, resulting in three deaths, according to authority spokesperson Andrew Busch. The transit agency does not track such incidents across years.
“Just from the experience of our police department, it’s at a higher level than we’ve seen in the past,” Busch said. “We are trying to go back through our historical data to compare it to previous years.”
Transit Police Chief Charles Lawson told reporters Thursday that his officers would begin enforcing a years-old policy prohibiting “any mask or other article of clothing worn to disguise the wearer’s identity.”
The gunman who fatally shot 15-year-old Roxborough High School Student Randy Mills last week on the Route 23 bus in Germantown was covering his face, as was the killer of 14-year-old Wort Whipple, who was gunned down May 13 at West Philadelphia’s 52nd Street Station.
Two 18-year-old men were also wounded by gunfire when two groups got into an altercation May 17 aboard the Route 33 bus in North Philadelphia. Busch said several of those involved were wearing masks.
Officers, under the new directive, will engage with riders donning what are known as Shiesty masks, basically lightweight ski masks that cover everything but the eyes, Busch said. Drivers and other transit employees will not be involved in enforcement, he added.
Busch said the prohibition, while on the books, had not been enforced, even prior to the coronavirus pandemic. He said riders will be asked to show their face, and violations will not carry citations or criminal charges.
People wearing a burka or other religious covering are exempt from the rule, and riders can continue strapping on masks to prevent the spread of the COVID-19, officials said.