A lawyer with the Center City-based Ballard Spahr firm was shot in a botched robbery attempt in West Philadelphia, and the firm is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the gunman.
Spencer A. Hill Jr., 37, an associate at the firm, was shot at 10:45 p.m. Monday near 52nd Street and Cedar Avenue while walking home from work, authorities said.
In an interview Thursday, Hill said he heard someone quickly approaching from behind. When the 6-foot-4, 350-pound litigator turned around, he said, a dark-hooded man in blue jeans came to a full stop.
Hill said he saw a flash of light, then felt a searing pain just below his chest. After crumpling to the ground, he said, he regained his composure and rushed up the front steps of his two-story rowhouse. His wife phoned police, who drove him to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center.
Surgeons located the bullet, but opted not to remove it. He was released Thursday morning, and is expected to make a full recovery, he said.
Mark Stewart, Ballard Spahr chair, said his firm is offering the reward out of frustration. In October, another member of the firm was involved in a violent encounter. “So, we asked, ‘What can we do?’” Stewart said.
Hill, a South Philadelphia native, has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Chestnut Hill College and a law degree from the University of Akron. He supplements his regular caseload with pro-bono work in cases of prisoner rights and criminal justice reform, Stewart said.
“He’s doing everything he can to make this community better,” Stewart said. “And he’s innocently walking home after a long day of work, and he’s targeted.”
Detectives suspect the gunman, described as a black man in his early 20s, was trying to rob Hill. They also believe the gunman was responsible for an armed robbery at 52nd and Addison Streets 10 minutes before Hill’s shooting.
“The guy that shot me didn’t say anything," Hill said, “so I think he was trying to rob me, but I’m not sure.”
If the gunman had fired an inch higher or lower, Hill might not have survived, he said.
“I realize just how close it could have been," he said. “It hurts to be walking around, but it feels good.”