Beloved Mom Who Worked at Philadelphia Recreation Center Is Killed in Crossfire, and Suspect Is 14-Year-Old Boy

A mother of three boys, Tiffany Fletcher, "lost her life while doing her part to give the children in her community access to a safe, clean, fun place to play," a GoFundMe for her sons says

Tiffany Fletcher
Tiffany Fletcher. Photo: Facebook

Tiffany Fletcher was sweeping the playground at the West Philadelphia recreation center where she worked, getting ready for students to come to play Friday afternoon when shots rang out.

About 1:30 p.m., a shootout erupted near the Mill Creek Playground on Brown and 47th streets, according to a statement from the Philadelphia Police Department.

Fletcher, 41, a Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Pool Maintenance Attendant and mother of three boys, was caught in the crossfire.

Fletcher "suffered gunshot wounds to the body" and was rushed to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead at 7:02 p.m., police said in the statement.

A 14-year-old was allegedly seen dropping a gun near the scene, Police Capt. John Walker said, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports, and was taken into custody.

Police recovered the weapon, which officials say is a "ghost gun," an untraceable firearm with no serial number, CBS Philadelphia reports.

Police arrested the teen, who is now charged with murder and other related crimes, including possession of a firearm by a minor in connection with Fletcher's shooting death, online court records show.

He is being charged as an adult, say police.

"I'm just hurt," Fletcher's cousin, Rollie Rolex said Saturday at a vigil for her in Philadelphia where more than 100 people showed up to honor her, Fox 29 reports.

"I'm just devastated, Rolex said. "She was a good person. A good soul. It was just senseless."

Fletcher "lived down the street from Mill Creek and lost her life while doing her part to give the children in her community access to a safe, clean, fun place to play," a GoFundMe set up to help her three boys says.

"Her kindness, dedication, and energy will have a lasting impact on the entire Mill Creek community and all those who knew her."

Fletcher is "survived by three bright and beautiful sons, devastated by the senseless violence that took their mother's life," the GoFundMe description reads.

In a statement issued Friday night, Mayor Jim Kenney said, "Our hearts are incredibly heavy tonight."

"Today, like every day, 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," Kenney said.

"Now, a family is left grief stricken, colleagues are in mourning, and a community is left to cope with this unimaginable loss," he said. "I share my deepest condolences with those who knew and loved Tiffany."

As police continue to investigate, Fletcher's family is grappling with the loss of the woman who devoted her life to her children and her community.

"My aunt was a wonderful mother," Fletcher's niece, Jane Washington, said, CBS Philadelphia reports. "She was a wonderful aunt, sister, daughter.

"Tiffany Fletcher was a good woman to everybody," she continued. "She was a friend. She was an advocate and she worked hard to serve for her own community, which we grew up in."

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Authorities are still trying to identify the other suspects in the shootout, so the mayor is asking people to come forward with any information about the deadly incident.

"I know these guys are heartless and cold and cruel," Kenney said at a press conference on Monday, "but I'm telling you if we don't get this information, we can't move forward."

Officials are also trying to put a stop to gun violence.

"Unfortunately, we have seen this tragedy play out in our neighborhoods repeatedly, near places like rec centers that should be safe and sacrosanct so children can learn, grow, and play," Kenney said in the statement.

"That's one of the reasons the City now offers a $10,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of someone who fires a weapon within 500 feet of a school, rec center, or library," the statement continues.

The teen suspect is being held in a juvenile detention center as he awaits his next court date on Sept. 29. He has not yet entered a plea. It is unclear whether he has retained an attorney who can speak on his behalf.

Anyone with information about this shooting can report it anonymously to 215-686-TIPS.

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