One day after shooting, questions outweigh answers

TV camera crews and their trucks lined the intersection of North Broad Street and Oxford Street Thursday afternoon. So did bits of yellow police caution tape from the night before. Nearly 24 hours after a

TV camera crews and their trucks lined the intersection of North Broad Street and Oxford Street Thursday afternoon.

So did bits of yellow police caution tape from the night before.

Nearly 24 hours after a teenager was critically shot Wednesday night near Temple’s campus, a lot of details remain unknown. But Temple President Ann Weaver Hart, who e-mailed a letter Thursday to the university community, remains encouraged that the campus is one of the safest of its size.

The shooting, which took place at Oxford Street near Broad Street – and outside the newly opened Pearl Theatre – left a 16-year-old boy hospitalized and three to five men in police custody for questioning.

None of the men involved with the shooting, which was followed by lengthy fighting, are Temple affiliated, according to Captain Robert Lowell, director of investigations for campus safety services.

No arrests have been made, but Lowell said a potential suspect has been identified.

“Right now, it’s about confirming the ID and getting a warrant,” Lowell said.

More information about the suspect was made available through Bart Blatstein, the CEO of Tower Investments, which oversaw the development of nearby student apartment complex The Edge at Avenue North.

“I saw the [police] report. This man is from West Philadelphia with a criminal past and he wasn’t even a movie patron. So it could’ve happened anywhere,” Blatstein said. “This could’ve been down the street but it happened near us.”

The teenager, who was shot in the groin, was admitted to Hahnemann Hospital Wednesday night, where he was listed in critical condition.

The boy is now in stable condition, Lowell said, though this information could not be confirmed by Coleen Cannon, the director of communications at Hahnemann. The name of the boy – the only victim of the shooting – has not been released. As a result, Cannon is unable to provide progress updates.

In Hart’s letter, the first-year president said she has looked into ways to “further enhance the safety of our community.”

Hart wrote that she has established working relationships with Blatstein, Mayor Street and City Councilman Darrell L. Clarke, whose Fifth District representation encompasses Temple’s campus and the Pearl Theatre.

“In addition, I have begun a series of meetings with my top administrative staff to develop additional strategies over and above what the City and developer may do in response to [Wednesday] night’s event,” wrote Hart, who added that Temple’s police department is the fourth largest in the state.

Councilman Clarke was unavailable for comment Thursday.

Lowell could not say whether Temple Police would add extra security to the neighborhood, as the shooting remains an ongoing investigation.

“Anytime there’s a shooting, it’s alarming,” said Lowell, who added that a motive has yet to be identified. “It starts with somebody having a weapon. There was an argument and that’s how they solved an issue. It’s extremely difficult to stop.”

The shooting came just two days after the grand opening of the Pearl Theatre, a $100-million complex and the first movie house in North Philadelphia in nearly 60 years.

The feel outside the Pearl Theatre, a block south of Temple’s campus, was calm Thursday – a stark contrast from a night earlier, when officers from Temple Police and Philadelphia Police’s 22nd and 23rd districts all responded to the scene.

“Anytime you have a movie theater, you know you’re going to have large crowds,” Lowell said. “And large crowds, in any area, could result in situations that require police response.”

Located a block west of the shooting, The Edge has been unaffected by the shooting, Blatstein said.

“Incidents like this happen up and down Broad Street, so it’s had very little impact on The Edge,” said Blatstein, who added that no further security measures have been exercised at the apartment building.

Construction workers putting finishing touches on the Pearl Theatre were the only people admitted into the building Thursday, which was closed for the evening and will reopen Friday at 10 a.m.

“It’s unfortunate it happened, but this will pass,” Blatstein said.

According to Lowell, the shooting was the first near Temple’s campus since a student was fatally shot in his Diamond Street apartment three years ago.

Christopher A. Vito can be reached at

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