A 15-year-old girl who was shot while playing basketball with her friends on a North Philadelphia playground Tuesday has died of her injuries.
Simone-Monea Rogers was with her brother and two friends at the Jerome Brown Playground on the 1900 block of West Ontario Street just before 9 p.m. Tuesday when someone began shooting in their direction, Philadelphia Police said Friday.
Rogers was a rising ninth grader at West Catholic Preparatory High School. In a letter to parents, school administrators called the news “devastating and deeply troubling,” and said grief counselors would be available at the school Monday.
No one has been arrested in connection with the crime. Deputy Police Commissioner Benjamin Naish said detectives were still searching for ballistic evidence and processing surveillance footage from the area.
He asked members of the community to share information with police, even anonymously, saying investigators believe “based on the number of people that were out there and some of the activity going on in the neighborhood, it’s likely some people have information about this tragic incident.”
“If we don’t get an opportunity to stop this violence in its tracks right now, it will continue to get worse,” he said. “And it is going to take somebody stepping forward.”
Rogers’ killing comes amid a surge in gun violence in the city that has left more than 1,400 people shot this year — 140 of them under the age of 18, according to police statistics. Of those young victims, 33 died.
Police have on several occasions said after shootings that they are committed to securing outdoor spaces where children play. But Deputy Commissioner Joel Dales said police don’t have the resources to position an officer at every playground and recreation center.
Dales said that while no officer was at the playground Tuesday night when the shooting occurred, police had made “periodic checks” there. He noted that the shooting happened about 10 minutes before the court was set to close.
“Nobody could have anticipated something like this,” Naish said, “and this is an area where it should feel safe to be able to play.”
Staff writer Chris Palmer contributed to this article.