I mean WTF?
Two residents of Southwest Philadelphia were injured - one of them seriously - in separate, recent attacks by youth engaging in a violent game they have dubbed "Catch and Wreck," police said tonight.Lt. John Walker of Southwest Detectives said tonight a 12-year-old girl has been charged with aggravated assault and related offenses in connection with an attack on a 42-year-old woman Friday night, and additional arrests are expected.
In the game, a group of children between the ages of nine and 15 congregating at the Finnegan Playground at 69th Street and Grovers Avenue beat, strike and stomp adults they believe may be homeless, Walker said. He said neither victim in the two attacks was homeless.
Vincent Poppa, 73, remains hospitalized at Methodist Hospital a full week after he was hit in the back of the head with a gun, knocked unconscious and stomped by a group of four or five male youths near the playground around 9 p.m. March 13.
Poppa, who suffered a heart attack either during or shortly after the beating, was on a ventilator until Friday afternoon, Walker said.
Walker said Poppa is in the intensive care unit in serious condition.
Methodist Hospital officials tonightdeclined to report Poppa's medical condition.
According to Walker, Poppa, a resident of a nearby senior citizens apartment complex, was attacked when he was returning from buying soda.
When he arrived at Methodist, medical personnel found footprints on Poppa's head and sneaker marks on his body.
"They were stomping him pretty hard," Walker said.
The second assault occurred Friday at 8:30 p.m. when a large group of male and female youths surrounded Belinda Moore, 42, as she took a shortcut through the playground on her way home from a cleaning job.
She was struck with sticks, punched and hit, but Moore managed to break free and run to a nearby home where a resident called 911.
Walker said Moore had injured a knee and hurt her head. She delayed seeking medical attention to help police in their investigation.
Police Friday night arrested a 12-year-old girl who hit Moore with a stick and were expecting to arrest at least two other girls and boy in connection with the attack on Moore.
The police are continuing their investigation into the attack on Poppa. Authorities believe there may have been other attacks that have not been reported.
Walker said police learned about the "catch and wreck" game when they brought a large group of neighborhood youths to Southwest Detectives for questioning Friday night after Moore was assaulted.
"They were all saying the same thing, laughing at us, like we didn't know what it meant," Walker said. "They said, 'It's something stupid we do for fun.'"
Police, he said, believe it's a new phenomenon.
"It's bizarre mindset these kids have developed," Walker said. "We're hoping we can nip it in the bud."