Five in custody in student brick attack in Philadelphia

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March 26, 2014 1:36:12 AM PDT
Police announced Tuesday that five high school students are in custody in connection with three attacks on Friday around Temple University's campus in North Philadelphia.

The arrests were made on Tuesday - just one day after surveillance video of the alleged suspects was released to the public. Police say the video was critical in capturing the juveniles - some of which, after seeing the video on TV, surrendered to police.

Investigators say there is a significant chance four of the teenage girls will be charged. One of the girls will likely be a witness.

The pending charges stem from three attacks on Temple University students, which police say all happened between 5:45 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Friday.

In the first instance a couple was walking west along Norris Street approaching 17th Street when they say they were confronted by a group of kids.

Authorities released video of the group of children, ranging in age from 8 to 14, who they say began to taunt the couple - especially the girl.

The children allegedly began to push the Temple student and pulled on her hair.

"That's when she turned around and pushed them back, told them to stop," explains Temple University Acting Executive Director Charles Leone. "

As the victim resisted, there was a violent turn.

Philadelphia Police Lieutenant John Stanford says, "One of the teens, they struck the female in the face with a brick, causing significant damage to this young lady's face."

The victim suffered dislocated teeth as a result of the attack.

Police say the 15-year-old girl who assaulted the student with the brick is now facing aggravated assault charges.

Shortly thereafter two other female Temple students were attacked - one along the 1700 block of Willington Street and another on the 1700 block of Cecil B Moore. In both instances the group allegedly punched the victim before fleeing.

Police say the group then boarded a bus and fled the area.

The motive remains unclear. Police say robbery is possible, but that the attacks appear to have been random.

The off campus area where the incidents occurred is dotted with surveillance cameras.

Temple students are repeatedly told to be aware of their surroundings and to look for potential threats to their safety. But young children are not routinely on their radar screen.

"When I heard how old they were I was in complete shock. It was not even something I would even thought would happen," said Temple student Karly O'Toole.

Police say there may have been two more suspects involved. The names of the girls have not been released because they are juveniles.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Philadelphia Police at 215-686-TIPS (8477), text a tip to PPD TIP (773847) or through

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