Suspect charged after 3 women shot at hookah lounge near Temple University campus, officials say
PHILADELPHIA - Three women were struck and injured after a shooting erupted near Temple University's campus this weekend, and now officials say the man who fired the weapon is facing several charges.
Several shots were fired around 2 a.m. at Hubble Bubble Hookah Lounge, which is directly across from the Temple University Chodoff Football Field.
Police say three women were shot: a 20-year-old woman shot in the arm, 19-year-old woman shot in the leg and a 47-year-old woman shot in the arm. All three women are said to be in stable condition, and none of the victims are Temple students, according to authorities.
A further investigation revealed that an interaction between a man, identified as 23-year-old Eryk Leach-Gilliam, and a security officer at the hookah lounge led to the shooting.
Authorities say Leach-Gilliam, who is a licensed gun owner, brandished a weapon as he was being escorted out of the lounge. The security officer then fired his weapon, striking the suspect in the body and arm.
Leach-Gilliam fired his weapon and struck three women in the process. Several shell casings were found inside and around the hookah lounge.
Two firearms were also recovered, one belonging to the security and another allegedly belonging to the suspect.
Leach-Gilliam is charged with four count of aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment and related offenses.
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Temple students who live nearby say they're on edge because of the spike in crime. Some students demand for more policing, while others argue that simply adding more cops seems tone-deaf to the bigger problem plaguing the area.
"You’re adding in police to be in a predominantly black neighborhood and that’s going to affect the residents here more than it’s gonna help Temple students," said Temple senior, Niara Sapp.
Eight new Temple officers graduated from the police academy Friday, but after this latest quadruple shooting, the Temple Police Association put out a statement saying the school's administration "has taken no significant action to curb the public safety crisis on campus."
The Police Association also said in their statement that they have "raised the alarm more than a year ago about the staffing crisis, but have been ignored with devastating consequences." The association also threatens that if Temple does not hire at least 40 more officers with better pay then "shootings, stabbings, and robberies will continue.
"Honestly I'm very disappointed because I set up meetings. I have meetings with them monthly. I speak with several of the Union leadership several times a week," said Jennifer Griffin, Temple's Vice President of Public Safety.
Griffin says she hears the Union's frustrations, but wants people to know that Temple pays more than other nearby universities and even added signing bonuses to attract more officers.
"It’s not just about hiring more officers it’s about having a strategy if you look at Philadelphia Police Department, they’re down 800 police officers. If we could find competent and capable applicants, we would hire them."