Retaliation could be behind recent shootings, investigators say

Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Frank Vanore, who oversees detective units, speaks Monday, May 10, at PPD headquarters.
PHOTO: Jack Tomczuk

Gang retaliation. Drug-related spats. Cash set aside for construction workers.

Those are among the reasons investigators believe people in Philadelphia pulled out guns and opened fire over the past few days.

It was a “pretty horrific weekend,” Philadelphia Police Chief Frank Vanore said, with seven people killed and 25 total shooting victims. At least 121 shots were fired in the city, based on the number of rounds recovered by officers.

Then, on Monday, a 20-year-old man died shortly after being shot in the chest just before 4 p.m. on the 3100 block of Jasper Street in Kensington.

“I’ve been working here over 31 years,” Vanore, who oversees the department’s detective divisions, told reporters Monday. “I’ve seen a lot of violence. This is more violence than I’ve ever seen.”

Three young men died following a pair of shootings in the adjacent Olney and Logan neighborhoods, where investigators say there has been a back-and-forth between groups.

Officers called to a house on the 100 block of E. Albanus Street in Olney just after 4:15 p.m. Sunday found 23-year-old Markel Amir Smith Rafi and 17-year-old Samir Lindsey lying on the porch.

Both suffered multiple gunshot wounds and died a short time later. At Einstein Medical Center, police discovered three more shooting victims — a 22-year-old man, a 21-year-old man and another 22-year-old man.

The three surviving victims suffered nonlife-threatening injuries, according to authorities.

Homicide Capt. Jason Smith speaks to reporters Monday, May 10, at Philadelphia police headquarters.PHOTO: Jack Tomczuk

On Saturday, 20-year-old Sebastian Brown was gunned down at around 8 p.m. on the 1700 block of W. Ruscomb Street in Logan.

“This is part of group-related violence that’s going on in that area,” PPD Homicide Capt. Jason Smith said. “A lot of retaliation.”

Smith said he believes narcotics played a role in a fatal shooting that occurred late Sunday night outside a Kensington corner grocery store.

Aaron Parker, 26, was standing in the doorway of the business at Allegheny Avenue and G Street just after 11:30 p.m. when two gunmen opened fire, killing him, according to police.

Two women inside the store were struck by gunfire. Both were transported to Temple University Hospital with wounds to their legs. Smith said it appears they were unintended targets of the shooters.

Police said the suspects, believed to be two men, ran northbound on G Street and fled the area in a light-colored vehicle.

Smith said three men were sitting inside a sedan on the 2800 block of N. 21st Street in North Philadelphia when another car pulled up and someone inside began firing.

Khalil Burgess, 18, was shot in the head and died at the scene, and 19-year-old Nazir Veasy was rushed to Temple University Hospital, where he passed away early Sunday morning.

A third person, an 18-year-old man, received a gunshot wound to the arm and is expected to survive.

The motive in the shooting remains unclear, Smith said.

Detectives believe money, specifically $1,500 in wages for day laborers, was behind a killing Saturday morning in Frankford.

Tyree Roundtree, 31, was shot in the back just after 9 a.m. on the 1600 block of Granite Street. He died Saturday afternoon at Temple University Hospital, according to police.

Authorities have approved an arrest warrant for 25-year-old Naheem Williamson, Smith said, adding that investigators have information indicating Williamson and Roundtree worked at the same construction company.

Williamson allegedly set up Roundtree and shot him during a robbery, suspecting that he was carrying cash to pay other workers.

Smith said Williamson, who has not been apprehended, is out on probation and already had an open warrant for robbery and parole violations at the time of the shooting.

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