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March 28, 2023

15-year-old shot and killed near Simon Gratz High School, police say

The student was on his way to school in the city's Nicetown section when he was gunned down; no arrests have been made

Crime Shootings
Simon Gratz Student Shot Thom Carroll/For PhillyVoice

A 15-year-old student at Simon Gratz High School in North Philadelphia was fatally shot while walking to school in the city's Nicetown section on Tuesday morning, police said. No arrests have been made.

A 15-year-old student at Simon Gratz High School in North Philadelphia was fatally shot while walking in the city's Nicetown section on Tuesday morning, police said. 

The shooting occurred near the intersection of 16th Street and West Hunting Park Avenue at around 7:45 a.m. Tuesday, just about a block away from the charter school. The student, who was identified as Devin Weedon by family, was shot in the chest and pronounced dead at Temple University Hospital at 8:14 a.m.

Police said that they believe three males approached Weedon while he was on his way to school. One was wearing a ski mask, and the group got into a physical altercation before one of the assailants shot the boy in the chest. No arrests have been made, and the investigation is ongoing. 

Detectives are not sure who shot Weedon or why, but are continuing to interview witnesses and check surveillance footage from nearby businesses. 

"This again speaks to the level of gun violence that we continue to see in the city," Police Sgt. Eric Gripp said during press briefing on Tuesday. "Our children should be safe. Everyone should be safe, but children on the way to school and this young man, a student at nearby at Simon Gratz High School in the 10th grade, with his whole life ahead of him, is dead this morning because we have individuals out there who can't seem to handle any kind of conflict with anything other than a handgun." 

"I grieve for the parents," Reginald Streater, president of the Philadelphia Board of Education, said during a press briefing on Tuesday. "Nobody should ever have to bury their child, especially in this manner. I just think we need to continue to work together to put our arms around this situation, be a village and think about how we can deal with gun violence in the city." 

Shortly after the shooting on Tuesday, Mastery Schools issued a statement regarding the shooting. Students at the high school and at Mastery Prep Middle School, which shares its campus, will be dismissed at 11 a.m., NBC Philadelphia reported. 

"This morning, a Mastery student from Simon Gratz High School was a fatal victim in a shooting, blocks away from our school," the statement reads. "The student has been identified and their family has been informed. Mastery offers our deepest condolences to the student's family and loved ones and will respect their privacy. We share in their loss and are (devastated) by the frequency with which gun violence is impacting our city and our community." 

There is a standing $20,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest in connection with the shooting. Since the shooting happened near a school, there is an additional $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction. 

Children have made up about 9% of the city's 383 fatal and non-fatal shooting victims so far this year, according to data from the City Controller's Office. There have been 101 homicides in 2023, which is down 14% from the same time in 2022. 

People with information regarding the shooting can contact the Philadelphia Police Department’s tipline at 215-686-8477 or submit an anonymous tip online.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.