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Caregiver killed


An 81-year-old wheelchair-bound resident of Riverview Apartments, 1041 S. Fourth St., was charged with murder and related offenses after he allegedly gunned down his caregiver inside his apartment.

Third District police responding to a report of a person with a gun arrested Lincoln Sowell without incident inside his 24th floor apartment at 4:13 p.m. Tuesday, said Inspector Bill Colarulo of the Police Public Affairs Unit. Inside they found Donna Bond, 52, from the 700 block of South Cleveland Street, suffering from gunshot wounds to the chest, arms and abdomen, the inspector said.

Bond was pronounced dead at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital a short time after the incident.

According to a police source close to the case, Lowell told investigators he shot and killed Bond because he believed she was stealing from him.

Woman found dead

A Melrose Diner customer made a gruesome discovery in the ladies room of the restaurant last Friday.

The customer found a woman dead in a bathroom stall at about 2:40 a.m., said Inspector Bill Colarulo of the Police Public Affairs Unit.

Donna Finnimore, 28, from the 1700 block of Ritner Street, died of a drug overdose, said Medical Examiner’s Office spokesperson Jeff Moran. The medical examiner ruled the death accidental, Moran said.

A medic pronounced the woman dead at 2:47 a.m. at the diner.

Asian merchants threatened

The Joint Terrorism Task Force is investigating a series of disturbing, graphic two-page letters sent to eight Asian merchants beginning last Friday. The letters were identical in content and stated in part that "all gooks will die" and "their women and children kidnapped, raped and killed by the Aryan Nation," said Inspector Bill Colarulo of the Police Public Affairs Unit. The letters contained a swastika and a pornographic image of an Asian woman, the inspector said. The documents also contained many misspellings and repeated references to the Aryan Nation, Colurulo said.

The letters were received via mail and addressed to eight recipients in different sections of the city: two in South Philly; three in Southwest Philly; one in Center City; one in Chinatown; and one in West Philly. In recounting reports of the threats, the inspector said last Friday, China-Vietnam News at 938 Arch St., as well as Hung Vuong Supermarket at 1122 Washington Ave. and the First Oriental Market on 1111 S. Sixth St. in Southwark received copies of the letter.

In the letters sent to the South Philly merchants, it was stated a mustard gas bomb would go off last Friday, police said. As a precaution, the two markets were evacuated and police K-9 dogs conducted searches that turned up nothing, Colarulo said.

The inspector said possibilities for those behind the letters include: the Aryan Nation; a sub-group of the Aryan Nation; another group blaming the Aryan Nation; and people thinking they are playing a prank.

"Regardless, we have a zero-tolerance policy for this. We take this as a very serious and legitimate threat. When we catch these people, at the very minimum they are facing terroristic threats and ethnic intimidation charges – at the very minimum," Colarulo said.

Any merchant who receives a letter should call 911 immediately and minimize contact with the document to avoid contaminating it, the inspector said.

Scene littered with casings

Twenty-seven spent casings from two different caliber weapons were recovered at the scene of a shooting Monday night.

Two men walked up to a 31-year-old male on the 1000 block of South Fifth Street and ambushed him with gunfire, said Detective Joe Chiaro of South Detectives.

Only one bullet struck the victim in the left leg, police said. The man was taken to Jefferson Hospital in stable condition at about 6:40 p.m.

Ten .40-caliber and 17, 9mm casings were found at the scene, Chiaro said.

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

Cab driver shot

After a man hailed a cab at 22nd and Jackson streets, he got out two blocks later and shot the cabbie in the jaw, police said.

A dispute triggered Sunday’s 11:45 p.m. incident at 24th and Jackson, said Detective Joe Chiaro of South Detectives.

The 33-year-old driver is in stable condition at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Police describe the shooter as a white male, age 20 to 22 with brown hair who was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt at the time of the attack.

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

State allots money for new task force

State Sens. Anthony Williams and Vince Fumo have earmarked $800,000 for the Philadelphia Police Department to create a new task force aimed at gun violence. The $800,000 is part of the $24 billion state budget and furthers Gov. Ed Rendell’s commitment to create a safer Philadelphia.

The announcement was made Monday at a press conference at police headquarters.

The task force is aimed at getting illegal firearms off the street, Williams said. The money for the new task force – a line item in the state budget – allows for city police to concentrate on tracking and nabbing illegal guns before crimes are committed.

Williams consulted with Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson, civic organizations and others in crafting the budget item.

Court orders fire companies to stay open

Oct. 19, Common Pleas Court Judge Matthew D. Carrafiello reinstated an injunction that halts the Street administration from closing eight fire companies. Mayor John Street’s five-year financial plan called for the closures, stating it would save the city $6.8 million.

Two of the fire companies on the chopping block are in South Philly: Ladder 11 at 12th and Reed streets and Engine 1 at Broad and Fitzwater streets.

Philadelphia Firefighters’ Union Local 22 challenged Mayor John Street’s decision to close the companies and entered into grievance and arbitration hearings last summer.

July 14, 2004, Carrafiello issued an injunction, which blocked the city from making any cuts pending the outcome of proceedings between the city and the union.

April 6, 2005, city arbitrator Kennard Lang ruled the city could proceed with the cuts; the only thing standing in the way was Carrafiello’s 2004 injunction, which prevented the city from making the cuts until the state could resolve an unfair labor practice complaint filed by the union. The state Labor Relations Board sided with Lang in May, giving the city the green light to proceed with the cuts.

Last Wednesday, Carrafiello reinstated his original injunction, which vacates Lang’s decision. The judge wrote in his recent order, "In so ruling, the arbitrator disregarded the clear mandate of this court embodied in the July 14 order."

The eight fire companies will remain open until the city reenters arbitration talks with the union. An arbitration hearing has not yet been scheduled.

"We think that the judge’s decision was right on target," said Brian McBride, president of Local 22.

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