14-year-old accused of killing Philadelphia playground worker

The teenager was charged with murder and other crimes in connection with Friday’s shooting of Parks and Recreation employee Tiffany Fletcher at the Mill Creek Recreation Center in West Philadelphia, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said.

District Attorney Larry Krasner confirmed the 14-year-old is being charged as an adult, but officials did not release the boy’s name at a news conference Monday.

CNN has reached out to the Defender Association of Philadelphia to determine whether they represent the teenager.

Outlaw said officers responded to the scene around 1:30 p.m. Friday when they heard multiple gunshots in the area of ​​the recreation center and saw people running from the playground.

The 14-year-old boy was taken into custody after a brief chase, and a 9mm “phantom handgun” was found in a nearby trash can, Outlaw said.

Police said Fletcher, 40, was “caught in the crossfire” during a shootout with the 14-year-old and at least one other person. After being shot, Fletcher went to a nearby business where employees tried to treat his wounds. Officers transported Fletcher to an area hospital, but he died later that evening, Outlaw said.

The authorities also found 12 spent shells on the spot. It is not yet known what led to the shooting and authorities are still searching for other suspects involved.

The victim stepped forward when the city faced a staffing shortage, the commissioner said

Fletcher agreed to work as a pool maintenance supervisor in the spring, when the city, like many others, was experiencing staffing shortages at its pools, and agreed to stay at Mill Creek Recreation Center after the pool season ended, according to Parks and Parks. Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell called Fletcher a “beloved employee.”

“Tiffany answered the call every day to serve the children and families in her community and to make her three children and her family proud,” said Ott Lovell.

The recreation center had just opened that day at 1:00 p.m. Four other employees were at the center when the shooting occurred, according to Ott Lovell.

“Words alone cannot express the anger, pain and sadness we all feel. Dedicated, passionate and driven — Tiffany Fletcher was doing her job outside the Mill Creek Rec Center in West Philadelphia — in a brave and senseless act. violence – — the crossfire hit in the middle of the day,” Mayor Jim Kenney said.

Jean Washington, Fletcher’s niece, called her aunt “a wonderful mother … aunt, sister, daughter.”

“I want justice for her children. They deserve their mother. To achieve peace, we need justice,” Washington said.

The district attorney called the level of gun violence “unforgivable, deeply depressing, horrific.”

Philadelphia has seen an increase in gun violence, DA Krasner said. Last week, the city recorded 11 murders from September 3 to 9, he said.

There have also been 384 homicides recorded in the city this year as of Sunday, a 4 percent increase over the same period last year, Krasner said.

“It is very important to understand that we are dealing with an inexcusable, depressing and horrific level of gun violence that is increasingly affecting children in the city of Philadelphia,” Krasner said.

The mayor of the city has also commented on the increase in violence, saying that the number of recent incidents is “infuriating” and “simply unacceptable”.

“It’s unbelievable to think how many lives have been affected by gun violence and my deepest sympathies go out to the families of all those affected,” Kenney said.

Kenney said the ongoing violence near recreation centers and schools is one of the reasons the city is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of someone who fires a weapon within 500 feet of a school, recreation center or library.

“Our playgrounds, our parks, our recreation centers should be safe and sacred places in our communities,” said Ott Lovell.

CNN’s Tanika Gray, Jessica Prater, Zenebou Sylla and Theresa Waldrop contributed to this report.