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Philadelphia teens fatally beat 73-year-old man James Lambert with traffic cone, video shows

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Authorities are looking for seven teens accused of fatally beating a 73-year-old man with a traffic cone last month in Philadelphia, police said late this week.

Philadelphia Police Department officials said Saturday that four teenage boys and three teenage girls assaulted James Lambert in the early morning hours of June 24 on Cecil B. Moore Avenue in North Philadelphia. The teens hit him with “objects” several times, causing him to fall to the ground and cause a head injury, police said.

Surveillance videos released by police show a group of teenagers chasing the victim and throwing a traffic cone at him. The footage shows a teenager chasing him down the street and hitting him with the traffic cone. Immediately afterwards, another teenager was seen to pick it up and hit him again, then chase him down the sidewalk and hit him with it a third time.

Police said Lambert, who was blurred in the video, was taken to a hospital where he died of his injuries the next day.

Attempts to reach Lambert’s relatives on Saturday failed.

The White DA, the Black ex-mayor and a hard debate on crime

It’s not clear what happened in the moments leading up to the attack or whether the teens knew the victim. But about 20 minutes later, the teens could be seen on surveillance video roaming the area, one of them riding a scooter.

Relatives of the victim told WCAU in Philadelphia that they had seen Lambert, aka “Simmie,” hours before the incident and could not believe that children had attacked him. Police said the black teens appeared to be in their early to mid-teens. Police gave no further descriptions, other than that one teenager had blond hair.

The family members told the news station they were heartbroken.

As of July 8, there were 280 homicides in Philadelphia in 2022 — a 4 percent drop from the same time last year, according to crime statistics from the Philadelphia Police Department.

In 2021, more people have been murdered in Philadelphia than any other year in recent history. It sparked a fierce debate on policing and criminal justice between two well-known Philadelphia Democrats — District Attorney Larry Krasner, who is white, and former Mayor Michael Nutter, who is black.

As Washington Post reporter Cleve R. Wootson Jr. at the time reported:

The year 2021 in the City of Brotherly Love will always be dominated by the shocking number of people whose lives ended abruptly and violently: an 18-year-old who was shot two weeks before graduating from high school, two men killed in a hailstorm of gunfire ​During a cookout on July 4, a pregnant woman was shot while unwrapping presents from her baby shower.

Police said a $20,000 reward is being offered for any information leading to an arrest and conviction in the June 24 attack. The case is under investigation by the Homicide Division, police said.


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