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Botched W. Philly robbery leaves 2 dead, including robber

One of the men targeted by the bandits fired back, but his friend was killed in the gunbattle.

TRACEY KNIGHT was in her living room on Media Street in West Philly late Thursday when she heard five gunshots ring out.

She peered out of her window and saw chaos.

One man was sprinting up Media Street, running so fast his boot fell off. She saw him toss a gun - "it was big and silver" - as he fled.

Across from her porch, at the corner of Conestoga Street and Media, she saw three more men.

Two were lying face down on the pavement. One was standing, holding a gun.

"They tried to rob me," he screamed. "Don't move! Someone call the cops."

Someone listened: Officers arrived minutes later and uncovered a botched robbery that would leave two dead, including one of the robbery suspects.

None of their names has been released by police.

The incident unfolded just before 10:30 p.m. on that block, as two men, 27 and 25, were heading home after a long day of work, police said.

They were longtime buddies - all they wanted to do was go to the 25-year-old's house, nearby on 58th Street near Master, to play video games, a police source said.

Instead, as they walked, two 22-year-olds approached them from behind and announced a robbery.

One of the punks pulled out a .40 caliber handgun. They weren't kidding around.

Neither was the 27-year-old: He was carrying his own .40 caliber handgun that night, one he has a permit for.

The gunbattle was brief and intense, muzzle flares lighting up the rain-soaked night.

When the dust settled, one of the robbers collapsed, shot in the groin, police said. The other, the one holding the gun, took off. He hopped a fence into a nearby property. Police later found him slumped there, bleeding from a wound to his stomach.

Back at the scene, the 27-year-old stood over the other robber, holding him at gunpoint until officers arrived.

His friend lay nearby, suffering from a gunshot wound to his stomach, police said.

Officers took the three men who were shot to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. The robber wielding the gun and the 25-year-old victim were pronounced dead there in the wee hours of Friday morning, police said.

The surviving robber remains there in critical condition, police said. He has not yet been charged in the shooting.

Friday afternoon on Media Street, hours after the bloodshed, life carried on.

Parents hustled into Brightside Academy, a day care center across the street from where the shooting took place, to pick up their kids.

Residents milled about, some eyeing the empty, trash-strewn lot at the intersection where two men lost their lives.

As the sun hung low in the sky, Tracey Knight shuddered, remembering what she had seen.

"He had to protect himself," she said of the 27-year-old. "It's sad that he had to shoot those kids, but they didn't give him any choice.

"That's not how I came up, but that's how things seem to be going these days. It's senseless."