Philadelphia School Shooting Kills 17-Year-Old Bernard Jamal Scott, Wounds Two Others
Philadelphia and its surrounding communities are still in shock this weekend after the tragic shooting death of one of its brightest young stars. Bernard Jamal Scott was just 17-years-old when he died from wounds sustained in a gun battle that broke out on a ball field across the street from Overbrook High School. According to Philly.com, there may have been as many as 50 witnesses to the crime – which left multiple others wounded – and involved possibly three different shooters. Authorities have on suspected gunman, 20-year-old Jaquan Jordan, in custody on pending murder charges, though they continue to search for two more.
Innocent Bystander Killed in Shooting
Scott was a bystander, reportedly part of a large crowd gathered to watch a fist fight on the playground, when shots rang out. Information from Philly.com indicates the alleged perpetrators fired into the crowd indiscriminately when one of the fighters began to lose. Scott suffered a gunshot wound to the stomach, according to reports. A driver spotted the teen bent over and bleeding, unable to talk. The driver took him to Lankenau Medical Center where he died five hours later.
As of Friday, authorities haven’t charged anyone in connection with the shootings or Bernard Jamal Scott’s death, including Jaquan Jordan.
Gun Violence and the Impact on Young Lives
Guns around schools have been in the national media spotlight for the better part of a year due to the terrible events at Newtown Elementary School in Connecticut. There have also been reports of shootings on college campuses across the country as well as a recent stabbing that wounded 15 students in Texas. Multiple states, including Colorado and Connecticut, have passed new legislation requiring background checks for gun purchasers and placing limits on the types of weapons citizens can possess legally.
The hope is that enforced restrictions and requirements will lead to fewer gun deaths on the scale as we’ve seen in Aurora, Newtown, and others. Access to firearms in the United States, compared to other countries in the world, is without comparison. Where the young people involved in this most recent Philadelphia shooting obtained their weapons is unclear, though there’s no denying obtaining them was easy. Currently, in Pennsylvania, buyers of firearms at gun trade shows – large-scale events held in convention or expo centers – don’t need to pass a background check to walk out the door with a weapon. It’s simply a cash industry.
Defending Criminal Charges
The panic that a single gunshot can instill in a crowd of people leads to mass hysteria and confusion. In this case, where multiple shooters are reportedly involved, proving who shot who without the weapons used might be difficult. Holding the perpetrators accountable for the crimes they’ve committed is of the utmost importance, but that shouldn’t come at the expense of prosecuting the innocent. It’s my hope that the police conduct a thorough investigation, and when they make arrests, they do with the goal of prosecuting those they believe to be responsible. As always, the accused have the presumption of innocence, and should be treated as such, regardless of the criminal charges they may be facing.
NO JAIL TIME
Commonwealth v. "H" (DUI case)
Client was charged with three separate DUI cases calling for mandatory minimum imprisonment of 90 days on each case. Client was advised to seek immediate intensive alcohol counseling. Client was sentenced to 1 year of house arrest after serving 3 days in the county prison.
Commonwealth v. "C" (Felony drug/Firearms case)
Client was charged with felony Delivery of drugs and illegal gun possession and was facing a mandatory 3-6 year prison sentence in the State prison system. Client was sentenced to one year of house arrest.
Commonwealth v. "S"
Client was charged with simple assault, domestic. After a hearing where evidence and testimony was presented, the entire case was dismissed by Judge Leonard Brown.
State of New Jersey v. "H"
Charges for young man charged with second degree aggravated assault were downgraded to third degree and he was accepted into the County Pretrial Intervention program with charges to be dismissed and record expunged after one year of misconduct free behavior.
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