An employee of Mill Creek Playground in West Philadelphia died after being struck by a stray bullet on Friday afternoon, police said.
Just before 1:30 p.m., Tiffany Fletcher, 41, was sweeping outside of the playground on the 4700 block of Brown Street when she was caught in the crossfire of a nearby gun battle. She was rushed to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead shortly after 7 p.m.
Police Capt. John Walker told the Inquirer that the gun was recovered after the shooting and that a 14-year-old boy was in custody on Friday night as part of the investigation. The boy was allegedly seen dropping a gun near the scene of the shooting.
Mayor Jim Kenney, along with Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell issued written statements on Friday night expressing their condolences to Fletcher’s family and noting that recreation centers throughout the city should be “safe havens” for residents.
“Words alone cannot express the outrage, hurt, and sadness all of her colleagues feel tonight,” Kenney said. “I was beyond appalled to learn of this heinous and senseless crime that has completely devastated so many people, especially her family. Today, like everyday, Tiffany went to work at Millcreek Rec Center to serve the community and people she loved, and serve as a role model for her children. Now, a family is left grief stricken, colleagues are in mourning, and a community is left to cope with this unimaginable loss.”
Since the incident occurred outside of a recreation center, the city is offering a $10,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved in the shooting.
Terry Allice, a witness to the crime, was working in a garage across the street when Fletcher ran in looking for help after being shot. Allice told 6abc that Fletcher collapsed on the ground, and Allice closed the garage gate and packed her wound with towels before calling for medical assistance.
A mother of three, Fletcher was known by her friends and co-workers as a dedicated employee at Millcreek, always working, interacting with kids and keeping the block clean, NBC Philadelphia reported.
“Each day, thousands of Parks and Recreation professionals make joy happen, bringing our public spaces to life for Philadelphia families, and providing joy and mentorship for the young people they serve,” said Lovell. “We will continue to work closely with police to monitor site safety while proving welcoming, supportive places where youth can grow and thrive.”
Those with information about this incident should contact the Philadelphia Police Department anonymously at (215) 686-TIPS.