Designated driver shot dead by Philly bar patron: cops

A young woman acting as a designated driver for her friends was fatally shot in the head by a stray bullet at a Philadelphia bar, police and relatives said Wednesday.

The victim, Jailene Holton, 21, was killed late Tuesday at Philly Bar and Restaurant in Northeast Philadelphia, where she went with pals, cops said.

Holton was pronounced dead at a hospital hours later. A male suspect is being sought, and no arrests have been made as of Wednesday afternoon, a police spokesman told The Post.

Holton, who was the designated driver for her friends, had been at the bar for just a short time before the gunfire broke out, her uncle told WPVI.

Jailene Holton
Jailene Holton, 21, was shot in the head late Tuesday at Philly Bar and Restaurant in Northeast Philadelphia, where she went with friends, police and relatives said.
Family Handout

“She didn’t go out often,” James Holton told the station. “They were only going to be there for about 15 to 20 minutes, and that’s when the altercation broke out and … this guy started shooting.”

A group of three men had interrupted a game of pool at the establishment before the shooting, a witness told WPVI.

One of the men was thrown out and then walked to a truck about 200 feet away before firing at least 15 shots into the bar – five of which went through its front window, including one that struck Holton, police said.

“She was not part of the disturbance,” Chief Inspector Scott Small told WPVI. “She was just a customer, and she was with friends.”

Holton was in the back of the bar when she was shot, Small said. Another person inside was left with a cut to his face from shattered glass, police said.

Holton’s grieving father said he is struggling to process the tragic slaying.

“She was just a good kid,” Jason Holton told NBC Philadelphia. “She was trying to get her life together, you know, and find herself in life. It just sucks.”

As of Tuesday, 254 people have been murdered in Philadelphia so far this year, according to police data. That’s 6% percent lower than the same time in 2021, when the City of Brotherly Love tallied an all-time high of 562 homicides.

Philly Bar and Restaurant
Police said the gunman fired 15 shots into the bar, five of which went into its front window.

Holton’s family said the slaying is just another example of “reckless” shootings throughout the city of roughly 1.6 million people.

“Nobody does nothing,” James Holton told WPVI. “You get a mouthpiece for 20 seconds on TV, and that’s it. Everybody’s running around like it’s the Wild West out here. Cowards shooting at a bar from 150 feet or more. Somebody goes out for 10 or 15 minutes, and then they’re dead. How’s that fair? How many children got to die before people say enough is enough?”

An online fundraiser set up to offset Jailene’s funeral costs has generated more than $8,000 as of midday Wednesday.

“Jailene was a young, bright and beautiful young woman with her whole life to look forward to,” the website reads. “She just recently celebrated her 21st birthday. Now her dad, sister and remaining family are left grieving the sudden tragic loss of Jailene. No parent is ever truly prepared to lose their child.”

Jailene Holton
Jailene Holton had been at the bar for just a short time before the gunfire broke out.
Family Handout

Leave a Comment