A teenager and two younger boys who unleashed two pit bulls into a schoolyard filled with children, injuring five, were probably just out for some vicious entertainment, neighbors and parents said Friday.
Police said a 17-year-old boy and two others, 9 and 10, unleashed the pit bulls, who raced into the schoolyard filled with 150 children during a noon recess.Police and the SPCA searched for the dogs and the youths, who ran away after the attack.
"It was probably their idea of entertainment," said Kenneth Lawrence, who runs an auto repair shop in the North Philadelphia neighborhood.
Lawrence said the attack Thursday was not the first time pit bull dogs caused a problem in the rundown, inner-city neighborhood.
Last summer, two boys unleashed a pair of pit bulls on a German Shepherd that was running loose.
"Then, everybody crowded around like they were waiting for a kill," Lawrence said.
Neighbors said the attack outside St. Edward's School was not racially motivated. They said blacks and Puerto Ricans who live in the neighborhood get along well together.
"They hang out together," said Lawrence. "They belong to the same gangs."
The injured children - fourth, fifth and sixth graders at the Catholic school - were bitten numerous times around their feet and ankles, said Dr. Mark Joffe of St. Christopher's Hospital.
None of the children required hospitalization and none attended school Friday.
Peggy James, whose daughter attends the school but was not injured, said the boys, "were just being spiteful and mean. Dogs like that shouldn't be out at all."
School officials offered counseling to the children.
The school's pastor, the Rev. Richard York, said diocesan officials and police would talk to the children to try to determine if the attack was intentional.