Updated: Video Captures Near Fatal Philadelphia SEPTA Bus Shooting
“For Lefenus Pickett, what began as a routine ride home on SEPTA‘s Route 47 bus became a near-death experience June 18 when a woman who took offense at his parenting advice called friends who strafed the loaded bus with semiautomatic weapons fire in North Philadelphia. A Philadelphia courtroom was riveted today as Pickett narrated a video made by seven cameras on the bus that showed two men, brandishing a handgun and an rifle, taking aim at Pickett who then jumps over his seat and runs with other passenger to the front as bullets fly through the bus windows. “At first I froze for a minute as I stood up,” testified Pickett about the moment when he saw the men outside on Seventh Street at Cecil B. Mooore Avenue aim their weapons at him through the bus’ rear door. “But when I saw them actually shooting, I was just trying to move toward the front of the bus.” The video, and Pickett’s testimony, became the key evidence at the preliminary hearing for six people charged with attempted murder, conspiracy and related charges for the assault that early Saturday evening. At the end of the hearing, Municipal Court Judge James M. DeLeon ordered four of the six held for trial including Penny Chapman, 20, the young mother who allegedly took offense when Pickett chastized her for spanking her young son. Also held were brothers Karon and Raheem Patterson, the alleged gunmen who fired 13 shots at the bus – remarkably not hitting a single passenger – Angel Lecourt, the brother of the father of Chapman’s son, to whom Chapman pointed out Pickett and told him: “I want you to shoot that [racial slur].””
Three men and a woman are being held for trial in a shooting incident on a Philadelphia city bus after a passenger complained about the woman spanking her child on the bus.
In a preliminary court hearing on Thursday, prosecutors played the dramatic surveillance video that captured the terror on the bus. Men carrying weapons send frightened passengers to the ground, as they scramble for cover.
Authorities say the June 18 violence was triggered when a male passenger, Lafenus Pickett, scolded a female passenger, Penny Chapman, for spanking her child.
“She was spanking her son for something he did,” Pickett testified to the court, speaking of Chapman. “I said, ‘That’s child abuse,'” reported ThePhilly.com.
Chapman then made a call on her cell phone, and three men were waiting for her when she got off the bus in North Philadelphia. Two were armed, one with a long rifle and the other with a pistol. They rushed up to the open back door of the bus and shot 13 bullets into the bus as it drove away.
The driver, Desmond Jones, drove the passengers to the nearest hospital. It turned out nobody had been injured.
“We are very proud of the action that he took to safeguard our passengers,” said Jerri Williams, chief press officer of SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transport Authority).
The horrifying incident took place on one of SEPTA‘s busiest lines, route no. 47, which runs from south Philadelphia to north Philadelphia.
The entire incident was captured at various angles on the bus’s cameras.
About a third of SEPTA‘s 1,500 buses are equipped with the technology. Williams says this incident further “validated” the importance of having cameras on board and that the city hopes to have all buses prepared.
A Municipal Court judge has ordered the men and Chapman to stand trial on charges of attempted murder and conspiracy.
Trial is set to begin later in August.