Homicide detectives continue to unravel what precisely sparked the double murder of two brothers inside an Overbrook Park residence this week, but there is no question that their home was what has been described by law enforcement authorities as a “nexus” of illegal drug activity.
Law enforcement officials also said that the older brother, Christopher Malcolm, 17, was allegedly into the drug game — and all indications are that he was the actual target.
“The older brother, this young boy was in it hard. He was moving serious drugs,” said Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross. “It looks like whoever the shooter was probably targeted him, and the younger brother was collateral damage. I was actually leaving a meeting and heading home when Chief Inspector Scott Small called me and said ,‘This is a really bad one.’
Christopher Malcolm had three prior narcotics arrests and convictions. Bennett had an arrest for a weapons offense.”
Investigators said that when they searched the home, they found more than $100,000 in cash, several handguns, a small amount of hydroponic marijuana and over 1,700 illegal prescription pills.
The illegal pharmacopeia included Xanax, Oxycodone, Percocet and six bottles of Codeine. Most of the illegal drugs were found inside of the parents’ bedroom, and although as of Tribune press time charges have not been filed against Rohan and Cynthia Bennett, they are being questioned and charges are pending.
Rohan Bennett was upstairs when the shooting happened with an 18-year-old friend of the family.
“What we have so far is a location where there was significant drug activity,” said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. “It’s still early in the investigation, and we still don’t know exactly what sparked off the shooting. It might have been a home invasion, or a drug deal that went bad. Right now it looks as though the shooter was known to the victims. We found numerous prescription pills in the home, some marijuana, several handguns and a large amount of cash. A suspect has not been named yet, but we do have some direction and are optimistic that we’re going to find and arrest the person responsible. We’re sparing no effort on this case.”
The double murder happened Tuesday night around 7:30 p.m. From what police have been able to piece together so far, Malcolm and his brother, Rohan were in the living room with the still unidentified shooter when gunfire erupted. Malcolm was hit in the chest and lower right back. He was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania where he was later pronounced dead. Rohan was shot multiple times and managed to crawl into the basement where he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigators said there are indications that Malcolm and the parents were allegedly involved in some kind of dispute over drugs and money. Precisely what the dispute was about remains to be uncovered by detectives, who reported that the drug operation was not small scale. Witnesses described the shooter as a light skinned Black male who was wearing a blue shirt. He fled from the home carrying a large bag; whether it contained drugs, money or both is not known at this juncture.
“Sometimes the lure of big, fast money gets to them,” Ross said. “But it’s a dangerous game and there really are no winners.”