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August 31, 2022

Three people shot near Kensington elementary school playground overnight, police say

School district officials addressed speculation that an employee of Willard Elementary may have been involved

Investigations Shootings
Kensington Elementary Shooting Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

A shooting in front of the Frances E. Willard Elementary School in Kensington early Wednesday morning left three people hospitalized, including one teenager, police said.

Three people were hospitalized after a shooting overnight outside a Kensington elementary school, prompting an investigation into the possible involvement of a school employee, officials said. 

The shooting happened around 1 a.m. Wednesday morning near the Frances E. Willard Elementary School playground, on the 300 block of Jasper Street, CBS3 reported. A 17-year-old boy was shot in the legs, a 20-year-old woman was shot three times in the lower back and a 20-year-old man was shot in the arms at the scene, authorities said.

Investigators said they recovered 30 spent shell casings from the scene. All three people were taken to Temple University Hospital, police said. The teen was transported by first responders and the two women arrived in a private vehicle, 6ABC reported.

Investigators found 15 bullet holes in the vehicle parked near the shooting scene. One bullet passed through the car and lodged in the wall of the school’s lobby.

No arrests have been made and no weapons were recovered. The crime scene was cleared and efforts made to ensure that the school day could be held on Wednesday with support staff and added security for students and staff.

In a letter to parents on Wednesday afternoon, school district superintendent Tony B. Watlington Sr. addressed speculation that a school employee had some role in the incident. 

"While we will not comment on the details of personnel matters, please know that we have no tolerance for any employee's involvement in behaviors that comprise student and staff safety, and will respond accordingly," Watlington said.

He added that the district will continue to advocate locally and at the state level to address the city's epidemic of gun violence. 

"We are all outraged by the crisis of gun violence that continues to plague our city," Watlington said. "Every act of violence, especially those near our schools, contributes to a sense of fear and uncertainty for our young people that is unacceptable. Our school campuses, and the pathways our students use to and from school, must be safe zones where all students feel confident they are safe from harm."

The shooting comes less than two weeks after city officials introduced a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest or conviction in connection to gun violence near schools, playgrounds and recreation centers.

Three hours after the shooting at Willard Elementary School, there was another shooting nearby on the 1800 block of East Clementine Street, according 6ABC. Two males were found shot in the head inside a home and transported to Temple University Hospital where they were listed in critical condition, CBS3 reported.