Another Philly carjacking stopped by armed citizen

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Just two days after a man in Philadelphia shot a carjacker in self-defense, and a little more than a week after a Lyft driver in the same city was forced to defend himself against a pair of carjackers, there’s been another case where a carjacker got more than he bargained for from his intended victim in the City of Brotherly Love.

According to police, a 60-year old man was approached by a 16-year old and another unidentified suspect about 7:30 p.m. on Thursday evening as he was exiting his car.

The teen pointed his gun at the man and demanded his keys. The man then took out his own weapon and the two fired a total of 17 shots at each other.

The teen boy was shot multiple times and fled the scene inside a jeep. Remarkably, the 60-year-old man was not struck in the shootout despite the teen aiming toward his face, according to investigators.

“He actually has gunshot residue on his face. On his cheek,” Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said. “He is very, very lucky.”

There may very well have been some luck involved, but I think it also stands to reason that the 16-year old may have had better aim if he wasn’t being shot at by his intended victim at the same time. Lucky? Yes. But it wasn’t entirely random chance that allowed the armed citizen to make it home safely last night.

While the man spoke with responding officers, police received a 911 call reporting a shooting victim nearby on the 6700 block of Germantown Avenue. When they arrived they found a 16-year-old boy inside the jeep suffering from gunshot wounds to both legs and a graze wound to the chest.

The teen was taken to Einstein Hospital where he remains in critical condition. The 60-year-old man identified the teen as the suspect who tried to carjack him. Police have not found the second suspect and plan to obtain surveillance video from a nearby home as they continue to investigate.

Police also recovered the teen suspect’s weapon on the street. Chief Small told NBC10 the jeep that the teen was found inside had been stolen in another carjacking over the weekend.

At this point police aren’t sure how many carjackings the teen may have been involved in, but authorities do acknowledge that these crimes are absolutely out of control right now. There were about 750 carjackings in Philadelphia last year, which is bad enough, but on Thursday the Philadelphia police announced that in just the first 13 days of the new year, the city has already recorded 90 separate incidents. The number of arrests in those cases, however, is far lower.

“The numbers are above where they were last year so it’s a continuing problem,” Philadelphia Police Deputy Commissioner Ben Naish said.

So far police have arrested seven carjacking suspects this year though only four remain in custody.

“We have identified many of the individuals responsible but we’re working to identify more and put those responsible in jail to put the trend under control,” Naish said.

According to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office, last year there were arrests made in just 93 of the 750 or so carjackings, which only furthers emboldens criminals who confidently believe they can get away with these crimes without consequence. For their sake, I hope they’re watching the local news, because it’s not just the cops and the soft-on-crime D.A. they need to worry about. With every one of these defensive gun uses, more and more Philadelphia residents are waking up to the fact that their safety is their responsibility, and the number of legally armed citizens is likely to grow as a result.