Shot officer first to help others
Sylvia Young has never been known to not help someone in need. When a Philadelphia police officer's daughter died in 2001 and didn't have enough money to pay for her funeral, Young, a rookie, called on her closest friends from the force to brainstorm how to raise funds for the services.
Sylvia Young has never been known to not help someone in need.
When a Philadelphia police officer's daughter died in 2001 and he didn't have enough money to pay for her funeral, Young, a rookie, called on her closest friends from the force to brainstorm how to raise funds for the services.
Four years later, when Philadelphia Officer Hasan Long was gunned down, Young and those same friends - by then, dubbed the "Ladies of the 14th District" - hosted a picnic, sold tickets, and donated the money to Long's family.
And when Philadelphia Officer Robert Wilson III was killed last year at a North Philadelphia GameStop, the Ladies of the 14th made T-shirts bearing Wilson's name and badge number and put them up for sale. The proceeds went to his children.
So when a call came in through police radio Friday night - "Help me, please!" from an officer - the Ladies of the 14th District braced themselves.
And when they heard it was Young who was shot, their concern was especially personal.
The Ladies of the 14th District sprang into action.
Around 11:18 p.m. Friday night in West Philadelphia, Young, a 46-year-old Northeast Philadelphia resident and a 19-year police veteran, had parked her marked patrol car at 52nd and Sansom Streets to take a call from a friend. She was near the end of her shift.
Normally assigned to the 22nd District in North Philadelphia, Young Friday night was working with an anticrime task force in West Philadelphia.
She heard one sharp bang.
Someone must have thrown a rock at my car, Young figured, according to her best friend, Philadelphia Police Lt. Cynthia Frye.
Then another sharp bang. And another.
Outside her car, 25-year-old Nicholas Glenn stood, armed with a 9mm Ruger in his hand and reportedly motivated by a hatred of law enforcement. With 18 swift blasts, he fired directly into Young's car.
She took cover the only way she knew how: slumping over in her seat. Still, Glenn struck her six times, including in the shoulder, the arm, and the chest. He hit her service revolver twice, making it inoperable, and her body armor.
Then, Glenn took off, hitting five others as he sprayed 51 bullets across four blocks. Along the way, he shot 56-year-old Eddie Miller, a University of Pennsylvania police officer and a Philadelphia Police veteran. Glenn killed community college student Sara Salih as she sat in a car with her boyfriend.
Young and Miller were rushed to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, where they remain in stable condition.
In the early hours of Saturday, Frye and three other members of the Ladies of the 14th District rushed to the hospital, desperate to see if Young was OK.
"When I heard it was her, my heart stopped," Frye said. " . . . But when I got to the hospital, she was calmer than us.
"There's blood everywhere and she's saying, 'Stay calm, I'm fine!' "
And that, Frye said, is exactly what you would expect from Sylvia Young.
Always the calmest, yet still the most passionate - especially about her Eagles. Young, Frye said, has always been beloved on the force. Standing testament, she said, were the more than 200 officers who flooded the intensive-care unit of the hospital Saturday morning.
Down the hall, friends and family crowded the room of Miller, too. Once a sergeant on Philadelphia's Marine and Traffic Units, Miller retired from the force after 33 years. Then, two years ago, he joined University of Pennsylvania police, where he worked the 3 p.m.-to-1 a.m. shift.
By Saturday afternoon, Frye said, Young had begun to return to her normal self, and said she was ready to recover and get back to work after some time off to rest. By the evening, she had enough strength to move from her hospital bed to her chair.
And in one special circumstance, Frye said, Young claimed she would be willing to stand.
"She told us, laughing, 'Don't let me stay in bed if any of the Eagles players visit me,' " Frye said. " 'Make sure I brush my hair, I have to look pretty for them.' "