While many Philadelphians were commemorating the thousands of Americans who died in the September 11th terrorist attacks, the city’s homegrown terrorists were busy kicking up the city’s homicide count.
According to law enforcement officials, eight people were gunned down from Thursday to Sunday in unrelated incidents of murder, raising the number of killings in the city to 229, an increase from last year’s 218 for the same month.
The first homicide happened on Thursday, September 8, in the 1300 block of Roumfort Road. The victim has been identified as Terrell Holcomb, a 21-year-old Black male from the 8600 block of Gilbert Road. Holcomb was shot in the head by a still unknown assailant.
He was pronounced dead at 7:08 a.m. at Albert Einstein Medical Center. As of Tribune press time police are still trying to determine a motive.
The second weekend homicide occurred on September 9 in the 500 block of West York Street in the 26th Police District at 10:21 a.m.
Officers responded to a report of a shooting in the vicinity and when they arrived at the scene they found the victim on the ground suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
He has been identified as James Hall, 58, of the 3200 block of Newkirk Street. Police have arrested a suspect in the case, identified as Calvin Atkerson, a 21-year-old Black male from the 2400 block of North Fairhill Street.
Law enforcement officials said the motive was an argument. Atkerson has been charged with murder and related offenses.
In a third unrelated shooting, police officials said that a 23-year-old Black female was the victim of an apparent robbery.
On September 10, police from the 25th District were called to the 3300 block of North 13th Street at 3:28 a.m. in response to a report of gunfire. When they arrived at the scene they found the victim on the ground dying from a gunshot wound to the head.
She has been identified as Shari Harris of the 3300 block of North Park Avenue.
As of Tribune press time police have no suspects under arrest.
On September 11, police rushed to the 1000 block of North 5th Street in response to another report of gunfire. When officers from the 26th District arrived at the scene they found the victim, Alsred Santiago, from the 400 block of South 5th Street in Camden, New Jersey suffering from a gunshot wound to the torso.
The 22-year-old Hispanic male was pronounced dead at the scene. As of Tribune press time police have no motive and no suspects in custody.
The sixth homicide was also committed on September 11th. At 3:08 p.m. police from the 22nd District responded to a report of gunfire in the 2700 block of West Eyre Street. When police arrived at the scene they found the victim suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and torso.
He was identified as Kevin Underwood, a 22-year-old Black male from the 2800 block of West Oxford Road. He was pronounced dead at Temple University Hospital at 3:54 p.m.
So far police have not determined the motive, and no arrests have been made.
Also on September 11 at 7:37 p.m. police from the 19th District were called to the 1600 block of Lindenwood Street in response to another shooting. When officers arrived at the scene they found the victim dying from a gunshot wound to the chest. He was identified as Christopher Lee, a 22-year-old Black male from the 5100 block of Kershaw Street.
Lee was rushed to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania where he was pronounced dead at 8:15 p.m.
Investigators said the motive was robbery and they are still looking for a suspect in the case.
Finally, also on September 11, police from the 19th District were called to the 5200 block of Master Street just after 8 p.m. in response to a report of gunfire. As of Tribune press time police have not released the victim’s name but he was a 28-year-old Black male.
The victim was fatally shot in the neck and pronounced dead at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania at 8:25 p.m. Police have no motive and have so no arrests have been made.
In an unrelated criminal investigation, police said they have arrested a man wanted for multiple robberies. Kelvin C. Miller has been identified as the suspect in multiple robberies in the 12th police district. On August 25, Miller was arrested by the Trenton Police Department during a traffic stop. Miller, 32, is from the 100 block of Chestnut Street and will be charged with robbery and related offenses.
Witnesses at 47th and Walnut, state police made false arrest, used excessive force on legally blind Black man; officers argue otherwise
The Philadelphia Police Department is sorting out exactly what happened when a pedestrian stop turned ugly, leaving the suspect, who is legally blind, and two officers with injuries, and accusations of excessive force flying in the community once again.
Witnesses said police were overly aggressive in trying to subdue Darrell Holloway, 22, who is legally blind. The police are saying Holloway started the physical altercation when he and his cousin, Jamal Holloway, 33, were stopped by 18th District police officers who suspected them of making a drug transaction.
No drugs or money were found, but during the course of the investigation, Holloway allegedly started the physical confrontation with police, law enforcement officials said.
The incident, which was videotaped by a witness and posted on the Internet, happened in the vicinity of 47th and Walnut streets on Friday, Aug. 19 around 9:45 p.m.
According to Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross, Philadelphia police officer Anthony Lazzaro reported that he and his partner approached three men for suspicious activity. In the arrest report Lazzaro said that when he pulled defendant Darrell Holloway toward his police car, Holloway pushed him and then punched him. Assisting officers were called during which time Holloway and Officer Lazzaro exchanged blows while local residents gathered and observed.
One resident, Charles Maddox, recorded part of the incident with a cell phone. The visual quality of the recording is poor because the area is dark, poorly lit and tall trees obscure streetlights. But the audio picked up shouting by residents; one who repeatedly said that Holloway was a blind man.
“This incident is definitely under investigation,” Ross said. “Obviously, we want to resolve this.”
Holloway has been charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. He does have a history of juvenile contacts with police, but no adult arrest record. His partial blindness is a result of a gunshot wound to the head four years ago.
Holloway was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania where he was treated for minor injuries and released. Officer Lazzaro and a second officer were also treated for minor injuries.
Holloway’s attorney, Kevin B. Mincey, told the Tribune that his client has a different story.
“My client says that the officer grabbed him from behind, slammed him into a parked car and then started punching him,” Mincey said. “At one point, according to Officer Lazzaro they were separated by other officers and my client broke free, charged Officer Lazzaro and started choking him. My client is legally blind in both eyes. He can’t see shadows or any difference in light. Somehow he charged the officers? In the video, which has poor visual quality but in the audio you can clearly hear the outrage by residents. This portion of Walnut Street is dark and my client’s back was to the officers, so how could they see a drug transaction? But all of this is something we’ll fight in court.”
Mincey said Holloway is out on bail and awaiting arraignment, which has been scheduled for Sept. 27.
The very first mention of Philadelphia in the national news for 2012 was not very encouraging. We actually made number one in a significant statistical category, but it’s nothing to write home about. Residents of the City of Brotherly Love murder each other more often than anyone else in America’s ten largest cities.
Heck, the mayor of Washington, D.C. is already bragging about losing the “murder capital” status to Philly, and using it to push his public safety agenda. When the numbers were announced last Friday, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray called a press conference, where he crowed, “The days when the District was known as the nations ‘Murder Capital’ are long behind us, and the plans we are announcing today will enable our police to continue this progress.”
There were 324 homicides in Philadelphia last year, up from 306 in 2010. Sure, that’s down from 2007’s high water mark of 391, but 324 murders in one year is ridiculous no matter how you parse the numbers.
As if to drive that point home for the nonbelievers, already there were six murders in 2012, and we’re only a couple of days into the new year.
About 85 percent of those murdered were young Black men, almost the exact percentage of the murderers themselves. Simply put, young Philadelphians are so hopeless and filled with shortsighted desperation that they’ve engaged in what could well be the first case of self-inflicted genocide in human history.
Our young men are willfully doing what nearly a hundred years of Ku Klux Klan raids could not do — what the night riders, cross burners and skinheads have only dreamed of in their wildest fantasies: the slow, deliberate extermination of the Black race.
Think about it for a minute. For every murder, there are two Black men taken out of the picture: the victim, who was deprived of life itself, and the killer, who is then deprived of any chance at a productive life by rotting in prison for dozens of years. Two sets of children are deprived of their fathers. How many of those children will then grow up in poverty and despair, repeating the same cycle of victim/perpetrator for yet another generation?
Fortunately, these facts are not foreign to the powers that be. In his second inaugural speech Monday morning, Mayor Michael Nutter called the phenomenon of young Black boys murdering each other “the epidemic not sufficiently talked about.”
Nutter is brainstorming with city, state and federal law enforcement agencies to come up with a strategy for combating handgun violence. Handguns are the weapons of choice for urban killing, used in more than four out of five of last year’s 324 Philadelphia murders.
The devil, as always, is in the details.
Any solution will require an entire sea change, a paradigm shift on two fronts: first, laws must be changed or amended to specifically target people who have no business with guns.
Not as easy as it sounds, given that anywhere outside of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, you’ll be hard pressed to find even a handful of state legislators willing to talk about gun control. Our local leaders have tried for years to implement common sense controls in Philadelphia, only to be shouted down by the rural gun nuts that hate Philadelphia anyway, and don’t much care if Black folk shoot each other until the cows come home.
The second hurdle, sadly, is internal. There are those among us — decent, enlightened, aware Black people — who bristle immediately at any notion that part of the blame lies squarely on our kids and what influences them. This is a mistake, because burying our heads in the sand won’t help them. They need to understand that their future (and ours) lies in their hands, and that future is determined by whether they’re carrying a book — or carrying a gun.
Sure, you can blame the white man for manufacturing all those guns, and legislators for allowing the guns to proliferate in the Black community — but while that’s true, we have to admit, at least to ourselves, that it isn’t the whole story.
White men are not driving in from the suburbs to gun down our children every weekend in our communities. State legislators are not shooting up bars, nightclubs, bowling alleys and house parties in Black neighborhoods.
Our children are doing that. The mayor was right when he correctly identified it as an epidemic. And it’s up to us — all of us — to stop it.
Daryl Gale is the Philadelphia Tribune's city editor.
As with the slayings of so many young African Americans, the murder of 20-year-old Nadirah Ruffin calls to mind the same descriptive adjectives used to describe so many killings in the Black community.
Senseless. Needless. Tragic.
Ruffin, who was also a single mother, was kidnapped last March 26th in Atlantic City by a group of masked home invaders. The home invaders, who were all young African Americans, weren’t content to pistol-whip their victims and steal money and drugs. Because Nadirah recognized the voice of one of the robbers, she was dragged from the residence, pleading for her life. Worried that she would “snitch” to the cops, her captors drove her to Philadelphia, shot her in the head and then threw her lifeless body into the Schuylkill River. Her remains were found April 19.
On Tuesday of this week a team of more than 50 federal, state and local law enforcement officers carried out arrest warrants for six suspects, one of them a woman, wanted in connection with Ruffin’s murder.
Charged in the case are Shamerria Smith, 24, Aziz Sanders, 18 and Deshawn Hicks, 19, all of Atlantic City. The three have been charged with kidnapping resulting in the victim’s death, robbery and weapons offenses.
Also arrested and charged in the case are Ronnie Ruffin, 42, of Lindenwold, New Jersey, Henry Ruffin, 40, of Williamstown, New Jersey and Isiah Ruffin, 20, of Atlantic City. The Ruffin co-defendants are not related to the victim, however, according to police, Ronnie Ruffin is the father of Shamerria Smith. Smith, Sanders and Isiah Ruffin are all first cousins and their parents are siblings.
Brothers Henry and Ronnie Ruffin are accused of witness tampering. Isiah Ruffin has been charged with providing false information to federal agents.
“Well, the entire family is pleased that the police have caught the suspects. This has been a very difficult time for me and my family as you can imagine,” said Derek Longcrier, grandfather of Nadirah Ruffin. The depth of Longcrier’s grief and emotional burden were evident in his voice as he spoke with the Tribune.
“As I understand it, this is still an ongoing investigation. Basically we’re content to let justice take its course. Nadirah was my son’s daughter, and this has been very, very hard on all of us,” Longcrier said. “We’re happy that arrests have been made and are grateful for the efforts of law enforcement.”
The arrests were part of an aggressive investigation by the Atlantic City office of the FBI, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office and the Atlantic City Police Department. In addition, personnel of FBI SWAT, New Jersey State Police, FBI Evidence Response Team; Atlantic City Police Department SWAT Team and detectives; the Philadelphia office of the FBI, and the N.J. State Police participated in the operation.
“The kidnapping and murder allegations in the complaint detail an indifference to human life that is shocking,” said U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman in a press release. “The complaint describes how associates of those responsible attempted to use threats, violence and lies to prevent us from finding and arresting the suspects. We are grateful for the tireless and cooperative investigative work of the Atlantic City Police Department, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office and the FBI, which ultimately led to the arrests of all of those involved.”
The tragedy began with a physical altercation on Wednesday, March 23 between a female referred to in the investigative reports as T.W. and Isiah Ruffin, who were involved in a relationship. The fight between the couple took place in the North Maryland Avenue area of Atlantic City known as “Back Maryland.” The couple was arguing over Ruffin’s alleged involvement with another woman. T.W. believed the “other woman” was Nadirah Ruffin. T.W.’s response was to find Nadirah, confront her and slap her.
This set off a series of confrontations between two groups of young people who all know each other. The end result was a physical confrontation between Isiah Ruffin and an individual identified in the investigative report as Donald Hawkins, a.k.a. “Goldie” on the afternoon of March 23rd. Goldie allegedly beat and robbed Ruffin, putting him in the hospital. Ruffin allegedly told law enforcement officers at the time that he had no idea who robbed and assaulted him.
According to investigators, Shamerria Smith was angry over the incident involving her cousin, Isiah, and Goldie and wanted to retaliate.
“This investigation is of utmost importance to the FBI Safe Street Task Force due to aspects of home invasion, robbery, kidnapping and the senseless murder of a young woman and mother,” said Michael B. Ward, Special Agent In Charge of the FBI’s Newark Division in a press release.
“Such acts of violence will not be tolerated and will be met forcefully by the united efforts of law enforcement. The arrests of six subjects believed to be responsible for this extreme violence are an example of that commitment,” Ward said.
On Saturday, March 26, Atlantic City Police were called to the residence of Monica Dunn. Police found four duct-taped women who reported they had been pistol whipped and robbed by a group armed with guns. The assailants were wearing masks and wore dark, hooded sweatshirts. At least one of them was a woman, later identified as Smith. The assailants searched the house in a manner, police said, that indicated they were familiar with the layout of the residence. They stole money and drugs; investigators say portions of the stolen cash were earned from the sale of a narcotic known on the streets as “woki,” marijuana laced with embalming fluid.
During the course of the home invasion, the victims reported to authorities that Ruffin said, “Shamerria, why are you doing this to me? You know me.”
The assailants then forced Nadirah from the house. She was never seen alive again.
On April 19, 2011 just after 10:30 a.m., Philadelphia police received a call reporting the discovery of a body floating in the Schuylkill River near Martin Luther King Drive and Black Road. The body was recovered and subsequently identified as that of Nadirah Ruffin. The cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the head. Her body was found wrapped in a khaki colored piece of clothing and duct taped.
“This is a very significant arrest,” said Deputy Chief Ernest Jubilee, Commander of the Atlantic City Police Department in a press release. “This is the most significant series of arrests made in one case this year. It was a tragic occurrence and I’m glad that the collaborative effort put forth by all agencies has resulted in these arrests.”
But of course, the arrests will never bring back Nadirah Ruffin, who leaves behind a 4-year-old son.
“It’s times like this that you learn to hold onto your faith in God, because that’s really all you have,” Longcrier said. “Ultimately, God is the true source of justice.”
Philadelphia police said they have arrested two suspects in connection with a shooting in which one of the slugs entered the house of a nearby resident and struck a 53-year-old woman.
On December 27, 2011, at 6 a.m., the Philadelphia Police Department arrested Ahmae Harris who was identified as one of the suspects involved in a shooting that occurred on the 5800 block of Morton Street. On December 23, Ahmae Harris and Kairi Harris were involved in a shooting when a bullet entered a residence’s window, striking a 53-year-old female in the face causing serious injuries.
Ahmae Harris is 21 years of age and is from the 400 block of Mechanic Street. Harris has been charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and related offenses. Kairi Harris is 33 and is from the 400 block of East Rittenhouse Street. He has been charged with the same list of offenses.
Detectives say the city has racked up 6 murders for the start of the new-year.
The first homicide occurred on December 31 at 10:45 p.m. in the 5600 block of North 2nd Street. Officers were called to the vicinity in response to a report of a person with a gun. When police arrived at the scene they found two people, a man and a woman dead from multiple gunshot wounds inside a 2001 Hyundai. The driver has been identified as Arlette Aguera, 31, from the 4700 block of Tampa Street. The passenger has been identified as Alejandro Garro, 34, of the 7300 block of Duncan Street. As of Tribune press time detectives are still working on the motive and trying to pin down suspects.
The two victims were pronounced dead at 12:52 a.m. on the scene.
The second murder of 2011 happened on January 1 in the 2500 block of South Jessup Street at 12:11 a.m. Officers were called to the vicinity in response to a report of a person with a weapon. When they arrived at the scene, the victim, identified as Joseph Testa, 77, had been stabbed multiple times. Testa lived at the same location.
Police later arrested 52-year-old Santo Mancuso of the 1000 block of Ritner Street. Mancuso has been charged with murder and related offenses. The motive was an argument.
The fourth homicide of the new year happened in the 4100 block of Orchard Street at 1:25 a.m. also on January 1. Police responded to a report of gunfire in the area, and by the time they arrived at the location a few minutes later, found a white male on the ground dying from multiple gunshot wounds. He was identified as Gerard Markert, 48, of the same location. Markert was taken to Temple University Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 1:44 a.m.
The motive has been determined to be an argument, but so far police have not made any arrests.
At 2:42 a.m. on January 1, police rushed to the vicinity of 8th and Callowhill streets in response to another fatal shooting. The victim, Towayne Scott, 23, of the 2300 block of Sedgely Street, was shot once in the shoulder. He was taken to Hahnemann University Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 3:35 a.m.
As of Tribune press time police have no motive and no suspects in custody. The investigation continues.
On January 3, at 10:09 p.m. police were called to the 2500 block of South Massey Street in response to another deadly shooting, this time the robbery of a pizza delivery man who investigators believe was lured to the location by a fake food delivery request.
The victim was identified as Ronald Anderson Jr., 29, of the 1100 block of Remington Street in Chester, Pennsylvania. Anderson was pronounced dead at the scene, and police are calling on the public’s assistance in identifying any suspects connected with the deadly robbery.
Homicide detectives have five new murders on their casebooks, four occurring within one hour, according to Police Officer Jillian Russell, spokeswoman for the Philadelphia Police Department.
The first slaying happened on Oct. 17 at 10:55 p.m. Police were called to the 300 block of East Hortter Street, where a young Black male had been shot in the chest. The victim was identified as Michael Barnes, 28, from the same location. He was taken to Albert Einstein Medical Center where physicians pronounced him dead at 7:46 a.m. the next day.
Investigators report that the motive was robbery but as of Tribune press time, no arrests had been made.
The second homicide was reported at 11:15 p.m. in the 5200 block of Oakland Street. Police from the 15th District, responding to a report of gunfire found a man lying on the ground dying from multiple gunshot wounds. He has been identified as Akkier McKinney, 36, of the 5100 block of Leiper Street. He was taken to Frankford-Torresdale Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 12:08 a.m.
So far police have made no arrests and the motive is unknown.
On the same date at 11:24 p.m. police from the 14th District were called to the 1500 block of East Cardeza Street in response to another shooting. The victim has been identified as Chad Barnette, 31, of the same location. He had been shot in the chest by a still unknown assailant. He was pronounced dead at Albert Einstein Medical Center at 12:13 a.m.
Investigators said the motive was robbery but as of Tribune press time, no arrests had been made.
On Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 12:04 a.m. police rushed to the 200 block of East Albanus Street in response to yet another shooting. The victim, identified as LaJuan Morrison, 29, of the 3100 block of North 29th Street, had been shot in the head,, He was pronounced dead at the scene at 12:13 a.m.
The motive so far remains a mystery and no arrests have been made.
On Oct.19 at 2:29 a.m. police responded to a report of gunfire in the 700 block of East Thayer Street. When officers arrived at the scene they found a young Black male lying on the ground, dead from multiple gunshot wounds to the head and chest.
He was identified as Sean Kinning, 20, of the 4100 block of M Street. Kinning was pronounced dead at the scene by responding medics.
As of Tribune press time, there had been 270 murders in Philadelphia this year.
The Philadelphia Police Department announced the arrests of four suspects wanted for at least 18 commercial robberies in the city.
According to investigators, on Monday, October 24, Police Officers Robert Hoover and Michael Minor, both assigned to the busy 12th District, responded to the report of a robbery in progress at the Rite Aid located at 7615 Lindbergh Boulevard.
When the officers arrived at the scene, they determined that two unknown young Black males entered the store just before closing. The suspects brandished semi-automatic handguns and demanded cash. The offenders also ordered the cashier to open a safe and remove all of the money. The males fled the location on foot with $2,343 and store merchandise.
Officers Minor and Hoover arrested the suspects and recovered three firearms in close proximity of the robbery. Through an intensive investigation, Southwest detectives were able to connect the two males to the robbery at the Rite Aid as well as link two additional males to a pattern of gunpoint robberies throughout the city since late August. To date, the four males have been charged with numerous counts of robbery, weapons offenses and related charges.
The suspects have been identified as: Marvin Gibson, 38, from the 3300 block of North Park Avenue; Anwar Mitchell, 19, from the 3300 block of North Park Avenue; and Jackson Doggette, 21, from the 3300 block of North Park Avenue. The fourth suspect is a 17-year-old Black male. Because he is a juvenile, police have not yet released his name.
In an unrelated robbery investigation, police have arrested a man wanted in connection with another string of robberies, including the armed robbery of a West Philadelphia bar.
On October 20, Eugene Calhoun, 48, was arrested on the 5500 block of Pine Street for the robbery of the Good Times Bar located at 5527 Lansdowne Avenue. After further investigation, Eugene Calhoun was identified as the alleged suspect for three additional robberies and is being charged accordingly. Calhoun was arrested without incident and will be charged with multiple counts of robbery and related offenses.
Homicide detectives said they are unraveling a deadly shooting in North Philadelphia in which two people were killed and two others were wounded.
It happened on Tuesday at 7:45 p.m. in the 3000 block of North 8th Street. Police officers from the 25th District rushed to the location in response to a report of gunfire. When they arrived at the scene they found two males suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.
One of the victims, identified as Craig Lassiter, 38, of the same location was pronounced dead at the scene by responding medics. A second victim, Duane Talley, 36, of the 1200 block of West Seltzer Street was rushed to Temple University Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 8:09 p.m.
A third victim, a 31-year-old Black male was taken to Temple University hospital with a gunshot wound to the right thigh. As of Tribune press time, he is listed in stable condition.
A fourth victim, a 33-year-old female is listed in critical condition at Temple University Hospital with a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Police are looking for suspects and a motive has not yet been determined.
In an unrelated homicide investigation police have arrested a 22-year-old Black male, charging him with murder in connection with a deadly shooting that happened on Wednesday, October 5th in West Philadelphia.
At 2:08 a.m. in the unit block of North Robinson Street, police from the 19th District responded to a report of gunfire. When they arrived at the scene they found a 37-year-old Black male on the ground, bleeding from a gunshot wound to the head. He has been identified as William Tyler of the 400 block of North Horton Street. Tyler was pronounced dead at the scene at 2:25 a.m.
Police later arrested a suspect in the shooting, identified as Richard Fox, 22, of the 6400 block of Vine Street. Fox has been charged with murder and related offenses.
Police are also seeking a second suspect in the case and the investigation continues.
In another unrelated criminal investigation, Philadelphia police and federal authorities are still asking the public’s assistance in capturing a pair of bank robbers who hit the Beneficial Savings Bank branch office located at 826 East Allegheny Avenue Monday afternoon.
According to FBI Special-Agent-in-Charge J.J. Klaver, at approximately 11:42 a.m. the suspects entered the bank. While one man remained at the door, the other approached the teller counter and presented a threatening demand note. The two men fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of money in an unknown direction.
The first subject is described as a Black or Hispanic male with a light complexion. He is in his mid 20s and is 5 feet 10 inches to 5 feet 11 inches tall. He has a thin build, with a black beard and was wearing a tan zippered jacket.
The second subject, who presented the demand note, is described as Black or Hispanic male also in his mid 20s. He is between 5 feet 7 inches to 5 feet 8 inches in height. He is approximately 160 pounds, is clean-shaven and was wearing a brown hooded sweatshirt with the hood up and cargo shorts. One or both of the robbers may have dye stains on their skin and/or clothing.
Anyone with information regarding the suspects should call the Philadelphia Police Department or the FBI at (215) 418-4000. There may be a reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspects, and tipsters can remain anonymous.
Hafeezah Nuri-Deen, a young Muslim wife, mother and day-care operator, was on her way home early Saturday evening when gunfire exploded and her life was ended.
Law enforcement authorities said she had no criminal past and was not involved in any kind of high-risk behavior — in short, she was just an innocent bystander when at least three young Black males engaged in some kind of dispute opened fire.
“She was a totally innocent person,” said Capt. James Clark, commander of the Philadelphia Police Department’s Homicide Unit. “She was truly innocent, no criminal past, just a young mother and upstanding resident of the community. This is a real tragedy.”
Nuri-Deen held a Bachelor of Education degree from Cheyney University and a Master of Education degree from Cabrini College.
According to police reports, on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 7:53 p.m. officers from the 19th District responded to a report of a person with a gun in the 5800 block of Malvern Avenue. When police arrived at the scene they learned that the victim, Nuri-Deen, 31, had been taken to Lankenau Medical Center with gunshot wounds to the back and shoulder.
Physicians pronounced her dead at 8:34 p.m.
Witnesses said they saw two young Black males running from the scene of the crime. Investigators haven’t released much information regarding a possible motive or the identity of possible suspects. Law enforcement officials said, however, that the investigation is aggressive and proceeding.
“It appears at this point to have been some kind of confrontation between teenagers and, unfortunately, she got caught in the middle. We’ve got some direction, but no one is in custody, yet,” said Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. “We have some information regarding the case but I don’t want to give out too much information. Bad guys read the papers too.”
According to family members, Nuri-Deen was a mother of four and ran a day-care center on North 63rd Street. Her family lives in the 5800 block of Malvern Avenue where she was shot.
“The decedent was leaving her father’s house; he was taking her back home,” Clark said. “As they leave, they walk to his car; he enters the driver’s side and she’s about to enter the passenger side. As they’re doing this two young Black males run past them. Another young male at the end of the block, without any regard for anyone, starts shooting at the first two. He fired at least ten shots — two of those rounds struck the victim in the back and shoulder. Her father drove her to Lankenau Hospital where she was later pronounced dead.”
Clark also confirmed that so far no arrests have been made but also said the investigation is proceeding.
“We’re making good progress on the case and we’ve gotten cooperation from the community. Our detectives are working night and day on this, but if anyone has any information it would be greatly appreciated.”
Anyone with information regarding the identity of the suspects is urged to call the Homicide Unit at (215) 686-3334 or call 9-1-1.
Informants can be anonymous. Family members have set up a Facebook page for the victim to post prayers and show support. The site is aptly named We Must Find the Murderers of Hafeezah Nuri-Deen.
Law enforcement authorities announced this week that they have arrested a suspect accused of murdering a young mother when he shot at a group of teens in West Philadelphia last Saturday.
Homicide detectives said that 19-year-old Daniel Shelley turned himself in to authorities on Tuesday, October 11th during an aggressive investigation by police to find the killer of Hafeezah Nuri-Deen, 31. Shelley, of the 1700 block of Pearl Street has been charged with murder, weapons offenses and related charges.
Investigators said that on Saturday, October 8th, just before 8:00 p.m., Shelley fired 10 rounds at a group of teens that were approaching him over a neighborhood dispute. Nuri-Deen was hit twice by gunfire as she was getting into her father’s car to go home.
“The decedent was leaving her father’s house on Saturday evening, and he was taking her back home,” said Captain James Clark of the Homicide Unit. “As they walked to his car, a group of young Black males ran past them. The suspect was at the end of the block on a bike. He saw the group of males and started shooting. He fired at least ten shots — two of those rounds struck the victim in the back and shoulder. Her father drove her to Lankenau Hospital where she was later pronounced dead.”
Nuri-Deen held a Bachelor of Education degree from Cheyney University and a Master of Education degree from Cabrini College. She was a mother of four children and had recently opened a day-care center.
Shelley has been scheduled for a preliminary on October 26.
In an unrelated criminal investigation, law enforcement authorities announced that they busted an alleged prostitution ring that was operating out of a Mummers club headquarters in South Philadelphia.
According to Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, members of the Downtowners Fancy Brigade were inside the location when police officers raided the clubhouse on Tuesday night. Thirteen people were arrested, including two officials of the club.
“Two of the individuals were on the executive committee,” said Deputy Commissioner William Blackburn in a published report. “Their website has since been taken down, but they have been identified through their own volition that they were members of that particular club.”
On Tuesday night police raided the club, which is located at Front Street and Snyder Avenue. Undercover officers reported that as soon as they entered the clubhouse they were propositioned by willing females offering their services for anywhere from $30 to $100.
When officers raided the place there were 50 to 60 people inside, some who were openly engaged in sexual activity. Police confiscated over $4,000 in cash and alcoholic beverages.