A young man who had been shot in the head over a snowball fight yesterday -- on his 16th birthday -- died this morning.
Tavin Rutledge had been at Temple University Hospital on life support. He was pronounced dead at 11:34 a.m.
The shooting was one of three this weekend, two of them fatal, as the city's murder rate climbed to 43.
Homicide Lt. Mel Williams said the victim and a friend were having a snowball fight in their Feltonville neighborhood when they accidentally hit the alleged shooter, who became enraged, went home, returned with a gun and shot the teen.
However, one of the teens involved gave a different account.
Travis Davis, 13, said he and Tavin were throwing snowballs at each other on D Street near Rockland when they hit a passer-by.
A man Travis said he knows only as Omar, in his early 30s, witnessed the incident and chastised the teens for throwing snowballs at the man.
The boys sassed him and Omar told the boys, "I'm going home to get my gun and you better not be here when I come back."
Travis said through sobs that he warned Tavin, who was visiting for the day, that he knew Omar and had seen his gun. He told Tavin to get out of sight.
Tavin went into a friend's house, where other teens urged him to stay indoors.
Instead, he went outside and sat on the steps. Omar came back with a gun about 4:45 p.m. and found Tavin, witnesses said.
"I'm not going to fight you," Tavin told the man, witnesses said. "If you want to shoot me, shoot me."
The man fired one shot that hit Tavin in the head, then he jogged toward Eleanor Street, about a block away.
Witnesses said young occupants of the house rushed out and tried to stop the bleeding with towels.
"Breathe," they urged Tavin. "Try to breathe."
"I'm trying," he managed to say before lapsing into unconsciousness.
A police officer rushed the boy to the hospital.
After the shooting, police went to Omar's house on Eleanor Street near D and called through a bullhorn for him to give himself up.
After about a half-hour, the cops entered the house and discovered that Omar was not there.
"He was a quiet kid who never gave trouble," said Luis Payano, owner of a corner store, near D and Rockland streets. "He always bought a cheesesteak and soda."
In the other shootings, one man was shot to death and another wounded shortly before 7 last night on 31st Street near Berks, North Philadelphia.
The unidentified victims were taken to Temple University where one was pronounced dead, and the other admitted in stable condition.
An unidentified 16-year-old boy died Saturday afternoon when he was shot multiple times in the face and body shortly after noon. He was pronounced dead at Temple University Hospital about 20 minutes later. Police issued a warrant for a suspect, who was not immediately identified.*