Friends and family of former Penn State quarterback and Philadelphia real estate developer Sean Schellenger mourned his death at a vigil on Sunday as police continue to investigate the events leading to his stabbing.
Schellenger, 37, was stabbed in the back by a man on a bike during a traffic incident at about 11 p.m. Thursday near Rittenhouse Square in Center City, according to the Associated Press.
Police reportedly found Schellenger, 37, lying in the street, bleeding heavily. He died at Jefferson University Hospital at about 11:20 p.m..
Michael White, a 20-year-old former Morgan State student and food delivery worker, turned himself into police peacefully Friday night. He’s charged with murder and possession of an instrument of crime in Thursday’s stabbing.
According to Philly.com, White is expected to claim self-defense.
“Michael defended himself. Sean was laying on top of him,” Greg Thomspon, a spokesman for White’s family, said.
Philadelphia homicide Capt. John Ryan said at a news conference on Friday that Schellenger and two other men exited a Mercedes Benz at about 10:50 p.m. Thursday on Chancellor Street to help move traffic along when White approached the scene on his bicycle, en route to a food delivery. An argument ensued between Schellenger and White.
“The man on the bike pulled a large knife from his backpack,” Ryan said.
White’s family (through Thompson) said he is not violent and has not had past run-ins with police, and kept the knife with him for protection while on his night delivery route.
Police say White stabbed Schellenger once in the back, and fled the scene, leaving his delivery bag.
White’s cousin Larry White told 6abc that Michael White felt he was being racially targeted by the men, whom he says were heavily intoxicated.
“My cousin was spat on in his face and it was a difficult situation for my cousin to walk away from. He felt like he was being racially targeted by these individuals who wanted to start a fight,” Larry White told 6abc.
Ryan told Philly.com he did not know whether any of the three men in the car were intoxicated, and neither of them were tested for drugs of alcohol, as the case is not a DUI. Toxicology results from Schellenger could take about a month, Ryan said.
“It’s all very tragic,” Philadelphia police Chief Inspector Scott Small told CBS Baltimore. “Apparently this started as some sort of argument, possibly over congestion and traffic.”
Witnesses told CBS Baltimore that both Schellenger and White were aggressive.
Patricia Strickland, a longtime friend of Schellenger’s who told the news station that Schellenger was like a son to her, said she had never seen him be aggressive with anybody.
“In fact,” she said, “I was in the car with him one day and he cut somebody off. The gentleman started to curse and he said, ‘Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t see you. I’m sorry.’”
As the CEO of Streamline, a Philadelphia-based real estate development and construction company, Schellenger was described by his family as a “rising star” in the real estate business who enjoyed giving back to his community of Point Breeze.
His neighbor, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, remembered Schellenger’s charitable spirit at the Sunday vigil.
“By him being a neighbor, but also through the charitable initiatives that he has provided in the Point Breeze community and all around just a good guy,” Johnson said via 6abc.
The memorial service for Schellenger will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Radnor High School auditorium in Wayne, Delaware County.
As a Nittany Lion, Schellenger appeared in just one game during the 2000 season (against Louisiana Tech), Philly.com reported, citing a Penn State football spokesman.
He was slated to be inducted into Coatesville Area High School’s sports hall of fame this fall.
White is being held without bail. His preliminary hearing is set for Aug. 1.