Killed and set ablaze


Earlier this week, homicide investigators were awaiting identification of a man who apparently was murdered before his house was set on fire Saturday.

The victim died of asphyxiation and multiple head injuries, said Jeff Moran, spokesperson for the Medical Examiner’s Office.

Flames erupted in the kitchen of 1813 Bainbridge St. around 4:40 p.m., said Executive Fire Chief William Brightcliffe.

It took 40 firefighters nine minutes to extinguish the blaze, the chief added.

There were no other injuries and the fire was contained to the three-story dwelling, Brightcliffe said.

To report information, call the Homicide Division at 215-686-3334/35.

Gunfire, then death

A man who was working on his car on the 2200 block of McKean Street was gunned down in a hail of bullets and later died at a hospital, officials said. Omar Gray, 23, of the 2300 block of Mifflin Street, succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds minutes after 10 p.m. Saturday, said Capt. Richard Ross of the Homicide Division.

The triggerman got out of a car around 3:30 p.m., approached the victim from behind and opened fire, said Sgt. Steve Biello of South Detective Division.

The victim was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was admitted into surgery in critical condition with gunshot wounds to the back, side and groin, the sergeant said.

After unloading the bullets, the assailant got back into a black Chevy Lumina, occupied by two other males, Biello said.

To report information, call the Homicide Division at 215-686-3334/35.

Tip leads to arrest

A tip phoned into the Citizens Crime Commission led to the arrest Dec. 15 of a suspect in the armed robbery of two deliverymen five days earlier.

Jonathan Williams, 47, was nabbed inside a house he was renting in North Philadelphia, said Santo Montecalvo, vice president of the Citizens Crime Commission.

Williams is charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, robbery, theft and other offenses, said Sgt. Steve Biello of South Detectives.

The holdup occurred noon Dec. 11 outside OK Deli at Fifth and Carpenter streets, police said. Both victims were partners who worked for the same company.

One of the deliverymen was inside his truck when he noticed his partner being robbed at gunpoint, Biello said.

That man — who was carrying a gun he legally owned and for which he had a permit — came to his partner’s rescue by brandishing his weapon and telling the robber to take the cash and not hurt anyone, said the sergeant.

The culprit complied with the first part, then fired one shot at the victim — whose partner returned fire and unloaded two shots, Biello said. No one was hit and the robber fled.

Detectives said Williams was the same man they saw on the store’s surveillance video, said Biello.

Thief hits the jackpot

A mugger got quite a cache when he robbed a woman of $17,000 worth of belongings last week, officials said.

The unknown man approached the 31-year-old victim from the side as she was walking along the 400 block of Catharine Street shortly after 6 p.m. Friday, said Inspector Bill Colarulo of the Police Public Affairs Unit.

The victim, who didn’t live in the area where she was robbed, told police she didn’t see a weapon but felt something pointed in her back, Colarulo said.

After demanding the victim’s purse, gold necklace and tennis bracelet, the assailant fled west on Catharine and south on Fifth, said the inspector.

To report information, call South Detectives at 215-686-3013.

Video shop hit again

Donning a mask and gloves, an armed robber entered a video-game store Saturday and cleaned out the place to the tune of $3,660, police said.

A 29-year-old store clerk told detectives the culprit walked into Game Stop, on the 2400 block of South 24th Street, at 6 p.m., pointed his pistol at him and pulled off the heist, said Inspector Bill Colarulo of the Police Public Affairs Unit.

Last weekend’s robbery was the second time in two weeks the store had been hit, said Sgt. Steve Biello of South Detectives.

The first time, on Dec. 8, two men escaped with $10,000, the sergeant added.

To report information, call South Detectives at 215-686-3013.

Parking Authority rage

In a case of apparent road rage, a man punched a Philadelphia Parking Authority employee in the head because he was holding up traffic while in the process of towing a car, police said.

The incident happened Saturday around 4:10 p.m. on the 800 block of South Second Street, said Inspector Bill Colarulo of the Police Public Affairs Unit. The 24-year-old victim told police the assailant exited his car and threw the punch because he was angry the employee was blocking the street, the inspector said.

The victim was taken to Pennsylvania Hospital for neck and back pain, Colarulo said.

To report information, call South Detectives at 215-686-3013.

Gloved gang suspects

Teenaged members of an apparent street gang are being charged with the notorious boxing-glove assaults, police said.

Acting on tips gleaned by the Citizens Crime Commission, South Detective Division on Friday announced the arrest of four more teens in the incidents.

Detectives nabbed the recent batch of suspects — two from the 400 block of Christian Street, one from the 300 block of Christian and one from the 900 block of Christian — at 6:30 a.m. Friday, said Sgt. Steve Biello of South Detectives.

An airbrushed T-shirt bearing what police believe to be the gang’s names — 5th Street Cannons and 5th Street Ballaz — was confiscated from one of the suspect’s residences.

Police had arrested a 16-year-old from the 900 block of South Fifth Street on Dec. 12 and seized two pairs of Everlast boxing gloves, Biello said.

Investigators expect to make two more arrests soon, added the sergeant. In all, 15 youths ages 15-17 were involved in the assaults that began Oct. 24 in the area, police said.

The culprits accosted their victims at random and beat them, sometimes with the boxing gloves, detectives said. Two of the victims were stabbed and one was shot in the assaults that spanned Fourth to Fifth streets from Queen to Federal, Biello said. Only one victim was robbed.