Shock at the shooting death of a popular Overbrook student

Outside Overbrook High, Philadelphia police and School District officers keep watch after the shooting Thursday across the street at Tustin Playground.
Outside Overbrook High, Philadelphia police and School District officers keep watch after the shooting Thursday across the street at Tustin Playground. (CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer)
Posted: April 13, 2013

To his classmates, he was B.J., a smiling, handsome, good-natured 10th grader, popular with girls and teased for his big feet, which he had only started to grow into.

He was in JROTC and was the kind of student who helped if you were stuck in algebra. He had his first serious girlfriend and had talked about becoming a video-game designer. Now, he was gone.

There was a hush Friday inside Overbrook High School as students gathered together weeping, whispering, unsure how to handle the death of Bernard Jamal Scott, 17, shot on a ball field across the street from school the day before.

Some stuck notes on the sophomore's locker, while others drew sketches of Scott, writing at the bottom, "Rest in Peace."

Police, meanwhile, were interviewing students and witnesses to sort out the details of the playground fight that erupted into a gun battle, killing Scott - who police believe may have been one of 50 spectators - and left two others wounded, including a suspected gunman.

A 20-year-old man, identified by police sources as Jaquan Jordan, remained under questioning Friday night at Police Headquarters. He was apprehended after a witness chased him and identified him to police as a shooter in a green shirt who fired into the crowd.

Investigators were also interviewing an 18-year-old, identified by the sources as Stanley Postell, who is hospitalized with a graze wound to the back. Witnesses identified Postell as a gunman who wore a red hooded sweatshirt.

A 17-year-old remained in critical condition with a gunshot wound to a buttock. None of the three is an Overbrook student.

Police were also looking for a third gunman who opened fire from a nearby alley.

No one had been charged Friday.

"There are a lot of questions that still have to be answered," said Capt. James Clark of the police Homicide Unit. "We are doing a lot of backtracking to identify who was involved in the fight and then, subsequently, the shooting."

The trouble appeared to start with a one-on-one fight about 3:45 p.m. in Tustin Playground, said Lt. John Walker of Southwest Detectives.

A large group of students rushed into the playground to watch, standing on the outfield grass while the school baseball team readied for practice.

"Everybody was following to watch a fight," said one school staff member. "They tweet each other, they get on Instagram - fight, fight, fight."

Some witnesses told police the fight may have been between groups of teens from Lansdowne Avenue and Wynnefield.

Police sources said two of the gunmen pulled their weapons when one of the fighters began to lose.

The third gunman may have been firing at them from the nearby alley as they fled, the sources said.

Police recovered bullet casings on the field and in the alley, Walker said.

Sharletta Ambey was driving Thursday afternoon over the Overbrook Bridge, with her toddler grandson in the car, when she noticed the commotion in Tustin. Kids were running over the bridge to the playground.

"They were just all hyped up, screaming and yelling," she said.

Wanting to break it up, she pulled over and was about to get out of the car when the shooting began.

"The guy with the green shirt on lifted his hand up and pulled out a gun and began to fire," she said. "Boom, boom, boom. It was nonstop."

He wasn't aiming, she said. "He was just holding the gun and letting it go into the crowd."

She yelled for her grandson to keep down, and when the shooting stopped, she drove toward the gunman in the green shirt running up Lancaster. She got out of the car and tried to grab at him, but he yanked away.

She got back in the car and followed him down 60th Street.

"He was running and holding up the side of his pants - that's how I knew he still had the gun," she said.

She yelled at him from the car: "You might as well stop and turn yourself in. I saw what you did."

The shooter threatened her, she said. "He told me I need to mind my business before I get shot."

He ran into a house on 60th, then came back outside. Ambey pointed him out to police as a shooter. Police sources identified him as Jordan. Police recovered a .22-caliber revolver with five spent shell casings that they believe Jordan tossed into his neighbor's rear yard from his parents' upstairs window.

Officers stopped Postell at 61st and Jefferson Streets.

A driver on 59th Street saw Scott bent over with a gunshot wound to the stomach and drove him to Lankenau Medical Center. Scott was unable to talk, police said. He died five hours later.

At Scott's Wynnefield home, his mother, Darshell, and his uncle Jamal Ford remembered a middle child who cherished time with his family.

"He enjoyed being at home with his brothers and his little cousins," she said. "He was a great kid. He was very playful. Truly a child at heart."

When Bernard Scott was entering high school, his mother, who works in a school for troubled children, moved the family to the Midwest, wanting a better school system. But she couldn't find work and had to move the family back to Philadelphia.

Keith Scott, 22, said he never had to worry about his little brother getting in trouble.

If he went out, it was to visit his girlfriend. He loved video games and worked at an office-cleaning job to buy an iPhone. He loved Michael Jackson and Dave & Buster's. He wasn't athletic, but everyone recalled how he drove in the winning runs in a family softball game. His 2-year-old niece adored him. He was growing his first mustache.

Though he had turned 17 in February, family members had planned a big dinner out Friday night. Instead, they grieved.

"He took the life of someone who was very much loved," said Darshell of her son's killer, "and who will be very much missed by a lot of people."


Contact Mike Newall at 215-854-2759 or mnewall@phillynews.com.

 

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|