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August 18, 2021

15-year-old girl, struck by stray bullets while playing basketball at a Tioga playground, has died

Investigations Shootings
15-year-old shooting Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

The 15-year-old girl who was shot at a rec center on Tuesday night is the city's latest gun violence victim. She was struck in the face and the right side of her head at 9 p.m., police say.

UPDATED AUG. 23: The 15-year-old girl struck by stray bullets while playing basketball at a Tioga park last week died from her injuries, Philadelphia police said.

Simone-Monea Rogers was one of two people shot around 9 p.m. at Jerome Brown Playground, at 3401 N. 20th St., according to investigators. Rogers was struck in the face and right side of her head. She died Wednesday at Temple University Hospital.

Rogers lived about a block from the park, according to KYW. The Inquirer reported she was set to begin the ninth grade at West Catholic Preparatory High School.

The other victim, a 33-year-old, was shot in the leg and her injury is not believed to be life threatening.

Two people – one of whom is a 15-year-old girl – were struck by stray bullets while playing basketball at a Tioga park on Tuesday night Philadelphia police said.

The incident happened about 9 p.m. at Jerome Brown Playground, at 3401 N. 20th St., investigators said. The 15-year-old, who lives about a block from the park, was shot in the face and right side of her head. She was taken to Temple University Hospital and is in "extremely critical condition," KYW reported. 

The 33-year-old was shot in the leg and is in stable condition. Police said a total of six or seven shots were fired.

"They appear to be hit by stray bullets," Chief Inspector Frank Vanore, of the Philadelphia police said to 6ABC. "There was at least one possible 4-year-old also shooting a basketball there, so it's very scary and very disgusting that somebody would just fire into a crowd of people that have nothing to do with anything."

Video of the shooting from security cameras shows the girl dribbling a basketball before collapsing to the ground. 

"Another child was out enjoying their summer evening, playing a game, hanging out, doing what kids are supposed to do, and was shot twice in the head," Deputy Commissioner Joel Dales, of the Philadelphia police, said at press briefing Wednesday. "There are too many people out there making careless acts of violence like this one. When will enough be enough?"

The girl, whose identity has not been released, frequented the basketball court and staff said she was a "really nice girl," Chief Inspector Scott Small said.

"We do believe based on the number of people out there, and with some of the activity that’s going on in the neighborhood, it's likely that some people have information about this tragic incident. And this is a time and a place for people to step up and provide our investigators with any information," Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Naish said. 

Police increased patrols around city recreation centers earlier this year. Officers were not present when the shooting occurred, and Dales said rec centers where there previously have been problems are more closely monitored.

"This particular rec center, where the shooting occurred, this was not on our radar – but it was still being checked," Dales said.

As of Aug. 17, there have been 339 fatal shootings this year in Philadelphia, up 22% from last year.

Data from the Office of the Controller shows there have been 201 shooting victims ages 18 and younger, 35 of which were homicides.

No arrests have been made in connection with the shootings at Jerome Brown Playground on Tuesday night and police are asking people with any information to call (215) 686-TIPS.

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