PHILADELPHIA (TheBlaze/AP) — Keisha Williams and her three children were selling fruit at a North Philadelphia intersection on Friday to raise money for a notable church project — to turn a corner lot into a playground.
Then the morning turned into nightmare.
Two carjackers rammed a stolen SUV into the family, killing all three siblings and leaving their 34-year-old mother in critical condition. The slain children were identified as 15-year-old Keiearra Williams, 10-year-old Thomas Reed and 7-year-old Terrence Moore.
The two suspects had carjacked a real estate agent at gunpoint and forced her into the back seat of her SUV, authorities said, before crashing into the family. The pair fled on foot and were still on the run Saturday as the reward for their capture topped $100,000.
The 45-year-old agent was also hospitalized afterward, as was a 65-year-old woman helping the family with the fruit stand. Their names weren’t being released, and their conditions weren’t immediately available Saturday.
“All they said was my grandma got hit, and there were bodies everywhere,” Sakina Brown, granddaughter of the 65-year-old victim, told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “My heart was about to jump out of my chest.”
She said her grandmother had seen the vehicle coming and tried unsuccessfully to get out of the away. She suffered a broken ankle and bruised sternum when she was struck.
Eyewitnesses who rushed to help the injured described a gruesome scene. One woman rushed to the boys, finding one with only a light pulse and the other with none.
The 10-year-old died at the scene. The other two were pronounced dead at hospitals.
“Three innocent children had their lives taken,” Philadelphia Homicide Capt. James Clark said of the siblings.
The reward for the suspects’ arrest has reached $110,000, thanks to contributions from the city and the Fraternal Order of Police. Police have also asked nearby businesses for surveillance videos and were getting tips from the public.
“There are no words to describe how I feel right now,” said police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, “but we do need to find these two guys.”
Police believe the suspects may have blown a tire as they turned a corner at high speed. The car ended up in a wooded area, its front end smashed against a stand of trees, about a mile from the carjacking scene.
Employees at Education Works, an educational nonprofit across the street from the wreck, ran to try to help the victims.
“I’m certified in first aid and CPR — my first instinct was to go to them,” said camp director Karen Payne, the woman who checked the boys’ pulses. “But I couldn’t help.”
Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison described the mayor as heartbroken.
“The prayers of the city go out to this family,” he said.