The day after a would-be robber in Rittenhouse Square shot a good Samaritan who intervened, the Philadelphia park was crowded as usual with dog-walkers, yoga practitioners, and office workers getting their lunch.
But Tueday night's shooting in one of the city's most upscale neighborhoods certainly sparked residents' fears of returning to the park after dark.
“I walk through this square all the time, day and night. Now I won’t be able to,” said Marian Robinson, who lives in the area. “I’ll always be thinking, ‘Is it safe? It’s awful to have to think that way.”
Others echoed the sentiment and said they won’t go through the park at night.
“I’m horrified,” said Larry Lagar, 68, who lives near the park. “It’s scary. It makes you not want to go out at night.”
The 39-year-old good Samaritan was biking through the park when he saw the suspect attempting to rob two other individuals in the middle of one o, and pulled over and tried to stop the robbery.
Instead, one would-be robber turned a gun on the man, firing multiple times and striking him in the right shoulder and stomach area. He then fled without taking anything.
The wounded man was taken to Hahnemann Hospital, where he was said to be in critical condition.
Police said Wednesday that they had identified a 17-year-old suspect as the shooter, but didn’t find him after executing a search warrant at his home that day. The investigation is ongoing.
The gunshots could be heard by diners at the sidewalk cafes in the area and sparked a minor stampede as people inside the park fled the scene. Police on patrol nearby responded to the scene.
“The guy on the bike was really brave. I wouldn’t have done it,” said Brian Marshall, 52.
While shootings are a regular occurrence in Philadelphia, they don’t often happen in Center City or Rittenhouse Square and the tony neighborhood that surrounds it.
“A shooting is a shooting whatever neighborhood it happens in, but it is surprising that it happened here,” Marshall said.
Marylou Blatteau, 72, who lives in a Rittenhouse condo, said she was “flabbergasted” by the brazenness of the crime.
“It was a beautiful night. I just can’t believe imagine that anybody thought they could get away with that with so many people out,” she said.