Who is Yazid West? 15-year-old arrested over 3 Philadelphia shootings on $2m bail
Philadelphia Police arrested West after three shootings over the past three weeks, including one near Temple University in which 2 teens were shot
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA: A 15-year-old is being held on a $2 million bail after being suspected of three shootings in Philadelphia. According to Philadelphia Police, Yazid West is suspected of shooting several people over three weeks, where thankfully all his victims survived. He was arrested after shooting two teens near Temple University on March 18 and is suspected of committing two other shootings on March 5 and 15.
As with other major cities, Philly has faced a massive surge in gun violence in the past two years. On December 14, 2021, three men attempted to rob a pizza shop when one of them was shot in the face by a teen. In November, a pregnant woman was shot 11 times in the back outside her home and tragically did not make it. On March 17, 2022, a homeowner fatally shot a trespasser who threw a stone at his car.
Whatever the reason, Philly's gun violence statistics don't make for good reading. Shooting deaths in 2021 are up 23% from 2020, which itself was 50% more than deaths in 2019. The only good news is that a majority of shootings are non-fatal, such as the three believed to have been perpetrated by West.
Who is Yazid West?
Few details are available about the 15-year-old, beyond his suspected shootings. On March 18, West and a few friends had a chance encounter with a 16 and 17-year-old near Temple University. It's unclear what exactly happened, but one of the girls deployed pepper spray from her car window, which led West to take out his gun and fire at them. He reportedly fired eight shots, striking one girl in the leg and the other in the back.
The group then ran away, but West was caught by police about a mile from the crime scene. Surveillance photos indicate he was the one who fired the gun and has subsequently been charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, and weapons violations. The two girls are reportedly in stable condition. After his arrest, West was then linked to two other shootings, but is yet to be formally charged in either case.
On March 5, it is believed West shot a 14-year-old boy in retaliation for the shooting of his friend on March 4. The victim was hospitalized and in stable condition, with surveillance footage appearing to show West as the shooter. Then on March 15, West is believed to have fired several bullets at a house on Gratz Street. No one was injured, and police believe West committed the shooting because the mother living there stopped her son from hanging out with West and his friends.
West was identified by a witness in the March 15 shooting, and was also charged with weapons violations as a result. It's not clear if he has pleaded guilty so far, all we know is that he is being held on a $2 million bail. He is reportedly being represented by the Defender Association of Philadelphia, which has so far refused to comment on the case.