Kensington Leisure Center pool closes for summer after staff members assaulted and cars vandalized – CBS Philly
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Kensington recreation center emptied its swimming pool and closed for the summer after five staff members were assaulted on Thursday. Police are now trying to identify the three attackers.
One of the victims is a 63-year-old woman who has worked for Parks & Rec for 30 years.
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There have been other incidents at the McVeigh Rec Center this summer, but this is the most violent.
On one of the hottest days of the year, families in Kensington have one less way to cool off.
The pool at McVeigh Rec Center has been emptied and is now closed for the season after a violent attack on Thursday afternoon.
“They are frustrated, sad and I think a little angry,” Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell said.
Police said shortly before 4.30pm on Thursday, staff told three teenage girls they had to leave the pool because they were unruly and not following the rules. But they refused and started taunting and threatening the staff.
“That’s when a physical confrontation ensued. It was about three female offenders swinging their fists and hands at pool staff,” Philadelphia Police Captain Matthew James said.
Punches were thrown and once outside police said they vandalized three cars – scratches to the side, a shattered windscreen and a dented roof.
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Philadelphia Parks & Rec closed the pool for the season on Friday and is now extending pool hours at the Scanlon Rec Center, which is less than a mile away.
“To ensure that we can keep residents as well as our staff safe, we have decided that we need to close McVeigh,” Lovell said.
But neighbors who were afraid to step in front of the camera told CBS3 that the pool’s closure is a loss for the whole community, and that children forced to go to another pool are also not safe.
The city is already facing a shortage of lifeguards.
A teenager says he went to McVeigh on Thursday and was interested in becoming a lifeguard, but now he has reservations.
“It’s dangerous, like being a lifeguard could be a bit dangerous in a neighborhood like this,” he said.
“It makes it harder to convince people that this is a great summer job,” Lovell said.
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Police are encouraging more witnesses to come forward and we are told there will be a police presence in Scanlon for the rest of the summer.