Another Philly rec center the scene of gun violence as leaders work to keep rec centers safe

A 15-year-old boy was shot at Dendy Rec Center in North Philadelphia Wednesday afternoon. He was taken by ambulance to St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children where he is listed as stable. A suspect in the shooting is being sought.

Late morning at the Dendy Recreation Center in the Yorktown neighborhood of North Philadelphia and a group of friends trash talk as they play two-on-two basketball. It’s what rec centers are built for. Wednesday afternoon, Dendy became a place of violence.

A top law enforcement source says investigators are making "good progress" tracking a suspect. Police say he’s the brazen shooter of the 15-year-old boy on the playground Wednesday coming to attack on a bike. The image of the alleged attacker was captured by a camera, one of eleven installed by the city with fanfare just a week ago. The young victim is expected to survive.


21-year-old Drew Alexander stopped playing ball with his pals to speak of the violence. Asked if violence is keeping him away from the park, Alexander said, "Honestly, it does. I don’t go outside too much anymore after all of that stuff, man. I had my own friends that died from being outside, going places."

Tireless anti-violence activist Jamal Johnson, and two of his supporters, waved their signs at motorists, yards from Dendy’s entrance. City Parks and Rec. reports the shooting is part of a flood of violence at its centers since 2019, climbing to nearly 300 incidents.

In a statement, the department writes working with police it has "increased strategic patrols and improved data sharing" at its facilities. The urgency for safety is rising at rec centers as 120 summer camps are planned.

By early afternoon, a police officer kept watch near the park. The basketball game over, Alexander spoke of the teen victim. "I just hope that he turns this into an opportunity," he said. "I hope he works to better himself, stay out of the way, stay out of trouble because the city is getting worse."


Tips can be submitted by calling 215-686-TIPS (8477) or texting PPD TIP (773847). Tips can also be submitted anonymously online, here. All tips are confidential.

Click here to find resources for victims of violence in Philadelphia.