Family of 13-year-old boy shot multiple times and killed in West Oak Lane calling for justice

A Philadelphia family is mourning the loss of their loved one after a 13-year-old boy was shot and killed in the city’s West Oak Lane section.

Authorities say at around 6:48 p.m. on Monday, police responded to the 6500 block of North Smedley Street, where they found the 13-year-old suffering multiple gunshot wounds to his head and face. 

The boy was rushed to Einstein Hospital where authorities say he was pronounced dead shortly after 9 p.m. Monday night. On Tuesday, police identified the teen as Jeremiah Wilcox. Now, his family is speaking out about the life lost too soon.

"I just keep his name alive. Just know Jeremiah was a goofy, loving kid," said Katrina Ball, Jeremiah’s stepmother. "He didn’t do anything but just love, love his family."

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Boy, 13, killed after being shot in the head in West Oak Lane, police say

Jeremiah was an 8th grade student from Wagner Middle School. Police say he was just hanging out with his friends before he was shot and killed. 

Friends and family of Jeremiah say they want people to know that he isn’t just a statistic, but that he was a young, curious boy with aspirations, just like any 13-year-old. 

"He was original," said Jeremiah’s cousin, Isaiah Copeland. "You know he was himself. He was very outgoing, just so charismatic, you know? He loved sports, he loved to hang out, he loves just to be funny, you know?"

This killing comes just two weeks after 14-year-old Nicholas Elizalde was shot and killed near Roxborough High School after a football scrimmage. 

"We’re very concerned. It’s egregious, it’s unacceptable, and we can do better. We’ve got to do better," said Philadelphia School District Superintendent, Tony Watlington. 


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A non-profit organization in Germantown, Men Who Care, seeks to enhance the lives of those living in crime-ridden, Philadelphia communities. Members of Men Who Care are stepping up and working with the school as they try to figure out next-step plans for a city that loses young people to gun violence every day. 

Aye Reid, of Men Who Care, says he is concerned for the mental health of kids who see their friends and classmates die to gun violence.  

"It’s trauma. I mean, if you live in a community, and you’re having shootings and people that you might not know, but you saw walking down the hall, or playing basketball at the basketball court, and they’re dead now from multiple gunshot wounds, what effect do you think that’s going to have on you?" said Reid. 

As the family remembers their beloved Jeremiah, they are holding on to hope that the people who did this will be held accountable. Copeland says all he wants, now, is justice. 

"I hope anybody who knows anything can come up, and they can find the people and get them because my cousin he needs justice." 

Homicide detectives are actively investigating this case, and they are asking anyone with information to contact the police.