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November 22, 2022

SEPTA rider struck by stray bullet while riding bus in Frankford, police say

The shooting, which injured a 35-year-old man, is the latest in a string of violent incidents on Philadelphia's transit system

Investigations Shootings
SEPTA bus shooting Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

A 35-year-old man was struck in the arm by a stray bullet while riding the Route 56 SEPTA bus in Frankford early Tuesday morning, police say.

A 35-year-old man was struck in the arm by a stray bullet while riding a SEPTA bus in Frankford early Tuesday morning. 

The No. 56 bus was driving on Torresdale Avenue near Church Street shortly before 3 a.m. when a bullet hit broke through a window and hit the man, Philadelphia police said. There were eight passengers on the bus, CBS3 reported. No one else was injured. 

The shooter remains on the loose. Investigators did not recover any ballistic evidence in the area, 6ABC reported. The 35-year-old man was taken to Jefferson Torresdale Hospital for treatment. 

"He's unlucky he got struck by gunfire, but he's lucky he was only shot in the arm, and he is in stable condition, and he is conscious, walking, and talking and cooperating with police," Chief Inspector Scott Small told the station. 

There has been a string of violence on the transit system in recent years. In October, a pair of teenage girls reported sexual assaults that occurred shortly after they exited the Broad Street Line. Earlier this month, a man was fatally shot during an attempted robbery while riding on the Broad Street Line. 

Last week, SEPTA said it will begin using artificial intelligence software to identify gun violence threats on the Market-Frankford and Broad Street lines.

Late last year, City Council held a public hearing after several violent incidents, including a sexual assault and an attack on a 18-year-old who intervened in an argument between teenagers. 

"We have had just such serious issues from mass shootings, drive-by shootings, while people are just waiting to get the bus, get on the train," Councilmember David Oh said in October 2021. The Republican was among those who had called for a hearing. 

In April, the SEPTA police union voiced frustrations over recruiting challenges and the inability to field enough officers while crime worsened. Robberies and aggravated assaults increased by 80% from 2019 to 2021.

The surge in crime and the public safety concerns prompted SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel III to resign in July. That same month, a man was arrested for following three random people off of SEPTA buses and then shooting them to death.