Jailene Holton, 21-Year-Old Designated Driver, Killed by Bullet Fired Into Philadelphia Bar, Police Say

What began with an argument about a game of pool ended with a young woman being fatally shot in the head in the rear of a Philadelphia bar on Tuesday night.

Jailene Holton, 21, had reluctantly gone out with friends for a reunion, according to a Fox 29 news report. She was the designated driver for the group, who began their evening at a local Topgolf before heading to Philly Bar & Restaurant, where a sign over the door reads: “LIFE, LIBERTY, BEER.” The Northeast neighborhood bar hosts a billiards league night on Tuesdays on its only pool table—which ultimately began the deadly violence.

At some point in the evening, three patrons arrived hoping to play on the pool table, only to find it occupied, according to the report. One of the men in the group flew into a rage about not being able to play, leading to a bouncer kicking all of them out of the bar. At just after 11:30 pm, one of the men opened fire at the venue from around 200 feet away before fleeing in a dark-colored pickup truck, cops said.

Of the 15 shots fired, 10 hit the building, but five hit the bar’s front windows. One of those bullets struck Jailene—who is thought to have been all the way at the back of the bar when she was hit. Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said officers and medics “found a 21-year-old female who was inside the bar laying on the floor suffering from a gunshot wound to her head,” adding “She was unresponsive.”

Doctors attempted to save her life with emergency surgery, but she was pronounced dead at the hospital at 4 am Another man in his thirties was treated for injuries inflicted by shattered glass, but none of the bar’s other roughly 20 customers or four employees were hurt in the indiscriminate shooting, according to the Fox 29 report.

Family members later confirmed the victim’s identity as Jailene to the media.

“And the hardest part is she never goes out,” her mother is reported to have told Fox 29. Her uncle, James Holton, slammed progressive Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner in an interview with CBS3. “Krasner needs to let the police do their job,” Holton said. “Krasner, the mayor, whoever else is in charge. Let the police do their job. Stop handcuffing them. Stop coddling these criminals and hold people accountable. How many children in the city are going to die? I mean, don’t you get tired of hearing it every day?”

Jailene’s death is just one of hundreds of people killed in Philadelphia so far this year. According to police data, as of Tuesday there have been 254 homicides in Philly in 2022, which is somehow 6 percent lower than at the same time in 2021—the year in which the City of Brotherly Love clocked 562 homicides, the worst rate ever recorded in the city.


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