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.
A woman in her 20s, believed to be the mother of one of the children, was critically injured and taken to Einstein Medical Center, police said.
Two of the children were pronounced dead at the scene. The other was pronounced dead at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children.
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 fugitive car ran out of control about 7:30 p.m. at 3rd and Annsbury streets, where a group of children and adults were enjoying the warm spring evening.
It smashed into the crowd, sending victims screaming over the street. 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 and taken to Temple University Hospital, according to reports.
Another suspect, who 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 at what had happened.
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 motorcycle rider.
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, chasing it on Rising Sun Avenue to Roosevelt Boulevard at C Street. The car turned onto 3rd Street, with police cruisers speeding after it, and wound up crashing into the crowd of people.
Other officers chased the motorcycle to 8th Street, where the suspect abandoned the bike and ran into a house, Vanore said.
Cops arrested him in the house and confiscated four guns.
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.