Three children under the age of 10 were killed last night when a car being chased by police spun out of control in Feltonville and plowed into a crowd of children and adults.
One of the victims, identified by 6-ABC as 11-month-old Remedy Smith, was pronounced dead at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children. Her mother, identified as Latoya Smith, 22, was gravely injured and admitted to Albert Einstein Medical Center.
The other children, ages 7 and 5, were pronounced dead at the scene.
After the crash, a woman was screaming, "She's only 7! She's only 7! I told you! I told you!" as she was taken away in a police car.
Police said the driver of the car lost control of the vehicle about 7:30 p.m. at 3rd and Annsbury streets, where a group of children and adults were enjoying the warm spring evening.
It rammed a utility pole then struck the crowd. Police cars, their sirens shrieking and lights flashing, converged on the scene.
A witness said that he saw an officer wrench a gun from the driver, who was injured in the crash. He was taken to Temple University Hospital, according to reports.
Another suspect, who police said had been involved in the theft of a motorcycle that started the chain of events, was arrested later at a house on 8th Street near Lycoming.
Mayor Nutter and Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey arrived shortly after the tragedy and expressed condolences to the families of the victims and outrage over what had happened.
"It saddens our hearts, three children killed senselessly through the actions of this individual," Nutter said.
Lt. Frank Vanore, police spokesman, said at the scene that the tragedy began at 7:29 p.m. at Fisher Street and Rising Sun Avenue when two men in a gray Pontiac Grand Am attacked a motorcyclist.
One of the men got out of the Pontiac, hopped on the motorcycle and sped off. The other man drove off in the Grand Am.
By this time, witnesses had called 9-1-1 and police sped to the scene. They picked up the trail of the Pontiac at Roosevelt Boulevard and C Street. With police in pursuit, the Pontiac continued south on the Boulevard, turned onto 3rd Street, then traveled several more blocks before striking the crowd.
Other officers chased the motorcycle to 8th Street, where the driver abandoned the vehicle and ran into a house, Vanore said.
Cops arrested him in the house and confiscated two shotguns, two handguns and a rifle, police said. Neither suspect was identified.
The scene of the tragedy attracted a crowd of onlookers. Police lights cut into the darkness and news helicopters thrummed overhead, sending beams of light to turn the scene below into a garish nightmare.
Andres Cruz, of Olney, who said that his mother lives nearby, said that he heard a sound like an explosion.
"I started running when I heard the crash," he said.
He arrived in time to see police take a gun from the driver of the gray sedan.
Robert Martinez, who lives near the crash scene, said the sound of the crash "was like a bomb blew up."
"It could have been my three nieces," he said. "Could have happened on this block." *