15-year-old shot, killed during argument on SEPTA bus in Germantown

A bullet missed the bus driver’s head by a few inches

UPDATED: May 26, 9:15 a.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia homicide detectives are still searching for the gunman who shot and killed a 15-year-old boy Wednesday night on board a SEPTA bus in Germantown.

It happened around 10:45 p.m. on a Route 23 bus on Germantown Avenue, near East Bringhurst Street. Police said the two were sitting across from each other when they got into a fight. One of them pulled out a gun and shot the teen in the chest, killing him.

Police identified the 15-year-old as Randy Mills.

“The driver immediately ducked down and then opened the doors to the SEPTA bus after she heard the shots,” said Chief Inspector Scott Small, “and that’s when our shooter … exited the bus from the front door and was last seen on foot south on Germantown Avenue.”

A stray bullet missed the driver’s head by a few inches.

“She was able to duck down but where that bullet hole went through the glass partition is clearly head-level, so this 52-year-old SEPTA bus driver is extremely lucky to not be struck by gunfire,” Small added.


Terrified passengers called 911.

Police released surveillance video of the incident, but the shooter was wearing a face mask, making him difficult to identify.

Police believe he is a young man, possibly in his early 20s or late teens. He was wearing a hooded sweatshirt with a jacket over top.

SEPTA Police Chief Chuck Lawson reminds riders that ski masks are prohibited on SEPTA, and anyone who rides the system is being seen on hundreds of cameras.

While SEPTA is looking into whether there are more violent incidents on board vehicles lately, Lawson said it sure seems like it to him.

“This is a violent time in the city right now,” he said. “Police everywhere are trying to come up with deployment concepts and response strategies.”

Making mass transit safer, he said, starts with limiting access to guns.

“Everybody seems to have access to them,” he said. “We’re seeing guns in the hands of 12- to 14-year-olds.”

SEPTA has 30,000 surveillance cameras, Lawson noted, and police have had success identifying suspects who were wearing masks. SEPTA is also piloting an artificial intelligence program to detect guns on subway platforms, but that program has yet to include real-time monitoring on board buses.

The city is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction. Tips can be submitted by calling or texting 215-686-8477. Tips can also be submitted anonymously online.


Featured Image Photo Credit: Philadelphia Police Department/YouTube