John Albert Laylo and his mother were heading to the airport to board a flight early Saturday when someone in a nearby car fired multiple shots at their Uber at a red light near the University of Pennsylvania, police said. Laylo was hit in the back of the head and died Sunday at a hospital.
“I’m sorry. It’s terrible,” Philippine Consul General Elmer Cato said, quoting Mayor Jim Kenney at a Philadelphia City Hall meeting in an apology for Laylo’s family and the Philippines. The mayor told him a $20,000 reward for any information leading to the gunman’s arrest, he said.
The victim’s mother, Leah Laylo, “told me to convey to the mayor her anguish, her anger and her demand for justice” and Kenney assured “everything possible will be done to bring to justice whoever is responsible for the death of his son”. Cato told The Associated Press.
“I also conveyed the great importance that the Philippine government attaches to this case and the hope that the authorities will do their best to solve the case,” he said.
Laylo, 35, had last worked for a private company in Manila, Cato said. He also served as a member of the legislative staff for opposition senator Leila de Lima from 2016 to 2018 and then left to pursue postgraduate studies. De Lima previously expressed the hope that a suspect would be held accountable immediately “for the brutal and senseless act.”
In Cato’s meeting with Kenney, who was with two police officers involved in the shooting investigation, “we were told that this is very likely a case of mistaken identity,” Cato said without elaborating. He added that police were reviewing video footage showing some vehicles, including a black Cadillac, near the car carrying Laylo and his mother shortly before or around the time of the attack.
Kenney expressed concern about the proliferation of weapons that has led to deadly shootings in the United States, Cato said.
In tweets earlier this week, Kenney said he was appalled by the “senseless” shooting. “Every act of gun violence is an unspeakable tragedy,” he wrote, as he asked anyone with information about the shooting to contact the police.
Philadelphia, along with other major US cities, is experiencing an increase in gun violence. In one notable episode on June 4, a shooting in the South Street entertainment district, about 3 miles (5 kilometers) from the shooting that killed Laylo, left three dead and several injured.
Laylo’s mother, who was slightly injured by glass shards during the shooting, posted on Facebook that she and her son had vacationed together. He shared snapshots of her and her son touring sites in New York, Washington and Philadelphia.
The victim’s remains may be flown to the Philippines on Tuesday, Cato said.