BY JOSEPH GAMBARDELLO & AMANDA RITTENHOUSE OF THE INQUIRER The university’s public safety office said events leading up to the shooting began about 11 a.m., when workers at a university garage near 32d Street and Convention Avenue confronted a man they saw trying to steal a Penn pickup truck.
“I went back there and said to the guy, ‘This is my truck,’ and he said it was his truck,” said John McGuire, a parking department maintenance worker. “He had the truck running with the lights on. I chased him and he went back toward the elevators and ducked behind a car.”
McGuire said that parking lot cashier Wayne Smith ran to help and the man “stood up from behind the car and held the gun pointed at Wayne and me.”
McGuire said he alerted a Penn police officer parked nearby that the man had run west out of the parking garage.
Police said the man tried to carjack two vehicles before stopping a white van on Spruce near 33d Street and forcing the driver out at gunpoint.
“He put the gun right in that guy’s temple,” McGuire said.
Police said that the gunman, in trying to avoid traffic, drove the van up on a sidewalk and hit the pedestrian, who was reported in stable condition at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Brian Quimby, a Penn junior from Mount Laurel, said he had stopped at a lunch truck at 38th and Spruce when he heard the growl of an engine.
“It was a van and it was flying down Spruce Street; it was going fast, 90 m.p.h. maybe,” he said. “Everyone stopped and turned.”
About 20 seconds later, he said, a Penn police car raced up the street, but became stuck briefly in traffic on 38th Street.
“Then another cop car, another cop car and another cop car went by,” he said, adding a friend called him a short time later to report that he had heard gunfire.
The carjacker crossed 40th Street and then apparently lost control of the van, slamming it into four parked cars, officials said.
He ran northbound with a Penn police officer in pursuit through a parking lot to the 200 block of Preston Street.
“There was an ensuing struggle, in which the offender attempted to take control of the officer’s service weapon, which discharged,” according to a university statement.
McGuire, the parking department worker, said police drove him to where the chase ended near 40th and Spruce to identify the man.
“I identified him while he was laying on the ground with the paramedics working on him. He was cursing them out and the whole pavement was covered in blood,” he said.
The man died at 12:37 p.m. at the Penn hospital.