Killed by friend

Dominic Pinto, 18, spent the night at friend and coworker Robert Novelli’s home Monday night. The next morning at about 7:30, Novelli pumped a single shot into Pinto’s head in an upstairs hallway ending his life, Homicide Capt. Mike Costello said.

A medic pronounced Pinto, from the 1200 block of Morris Street, dead at 7:46 a.m.

Police arrested Novelli, 19, from the 2500 block of South 11th Street, at the scene and charged him with murder, the captain said.

Costello said the two worked together fixing up houses, possibly painting them. Detectives are at a loss as to what went wrong between them.

"It appears just to be, at this point, an argument that escalated," Costello said. "It might have been something as senseless as getting up for work. There doesn’t appear to be any nexus to narcotics or robbery."

To report information, call the Homicide Division at 215-686-3334/5.

Two shootings, two deaths

Bullets claimed the lives of two men, killed an hour apart in separate shootings, early Monday.

The first slaying happened at 1:26 a.m. on the 2200 block of Jackson Street. Medics pronounced Kareem Smith, 33, from the 2200 block of South 23rd Street, dead at 1:52 a.m., Officer Raul Malvieros of the Police Public Affairs Unit said. While inside a vehicle, Smith suffered a single gunshot wound to the chest.

Then, at 2:25 a.m. on the 600 block of Emily Street, police found a 40-year-old with a wound to his back.

John Londell Stokes of the 1900 block of Hemberger Street was taken to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where he died at 3:23 a.m., Malvieros said.

Homicide investigators continue to search for motives and suspects in both shootings.

To report information, call the Homicide Division at 215-686-3334/5.

Slain in Southwest

A local man was fatally shot in the head Saturday while in a rear driveway in Southwest Philly.

When 12th District police arrived at the 1700 block of South Avondale Street at about 10:50 a.m., medics were already trying to save 21-year-old Champ Johnson from a gunshot to the head, Officer Yolanda Dawkins of the Police Public Affairs Unit said.

The resident from the 1400 block of South 24th Street was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:58 a.m.

Of the nine homicides the city recorded over the weekend, three happened in Southwest.

To report information, call the Homicide Division at 215-686-3334/5.

Candle starts fire

A candle inside an apartment ignited a blaze at Gateway Towers, 3700 Sheaff Lane, early Tuesday.

When flames erupted out at 12:59 a.m., nearly 200 residents had to be evacuated from the six-story Buckingham Building in the complex, Executive Fire Chief Daniel Williams said. The fire went to a second alarm at 1:08 a.m. before being extinguished at 1:35 a.m.

The affected structure contained 150 units – 25 per floor. A 59-year-old man was taken to Methodist Hospital for minor injuries; none of the 75 firefighters who battled the flames were harmed.

Six occupants were displaced because of significant smoke and water damage to their dwellings, the chief said.

School officer arrested

A school police officer was arrested and charged after he allegedly attacked, threatened and waved his weapon at a group of neighborhood children and a woman Friday.

Kids playing with water guns at about 4:46 p.m. on the 1700 block of Tasker Street allegedly set the man off, Detective Joe Chiaro of South Detective Division said.

David Bradley, 42, from that block, was charged with five counts of aggravated assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person, along with one count of possession of an instrument of crime.

A 28-year-old neighbor called police after Bradley came out of his house and allegedly grabbed her toddler by the neck, throwing him to the ground, Chiaro said.

The 3-year-old and his siblings and cousins – ages 5 to 7 – were playing outside the boy’s house when Bradley became irate, police said.

After the alleged assault, the suspect went inside his home and returned with a handgun, police said. The man allegedly pointed it at the children and waved it at the woman, threatening to shoot anybody who hit him with a water gun, Chiaro said.

Inside Bradley’s residence, police recovered a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson firearm, which he was licensed to carry.

Couple wounded

After a gang of teens attempted to rob a man and woman on the 1400 block of Wharton Street, three of the bandits returned and shot the couple, police said.

Police arrested the trio, all age 15, shortly after Monday’s 3 a.m. crime. Two of the suspects are from the 1800 block of Wharton Street and the other from the 1300 block of South Corlees Street. They were each charged with two counts of attempted robbery, attempted theft, aggravated assault, simple assault and related offenses.

About 20 minutes before the suspects shot the couple, they and three to five other teens – who were not charged in the incident – attempted to rob the duo of a bike and a handbag, Detective Joe Chiaro of South Detectives said. When the couple put up a fight and screamed, the gang took off. A short time later, three of them returned and opened fire.

The 29-year-old woman and the 21-year-old man each sustained a wound to their left legs. They were taken to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in stable condition.

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

Assault verdict in attack on girlfriend

A man charged with attempted murder for an attack on his girlfriend last August was acquitted of that and two other charges, but found guilty of other offenses.

July 13, after a two-day waiver trial, Common Pleas Court Judge Albert Snite found Poe Keo, 25 at the time of the incident, guilty of sexual assault, aggravated assault and criminal trespass. Snite acquitted Keo, from the 2500 block of South Sixth Street, of attempted murder, burglary and rape, Assistant District Attorney James Berardinelli said.

"It’s not a perfect result," the prosecutor said. "We obviously felt there was evidence to sustain all the charges. We certainly thought there was evidence to support the rape charge. At the same time, he faces a pretty significant jail sentence and that’s what we’ll be seeking when we go back to court [for the Oct. 13 sentencing]."

Keo faces a maximum 40-year prison term. Prior to sentencing, he will have a Megan’s Law evaluation to determine whether he should be deemed a sexually violent predator, Berardinelli said, adding the evaluation is standard for any rape or sexual assault conviction.

Assistant Public Defender Peter Maas could not be reached for comment by press time.

AUG. 3, 2005, Keo allegedly broke into his then-26-year-old girlfriend’s apartment on the 1900 block of Ritner Street and trashed the place before raping and beating her, police said at the time.

Officers found the bruised and bloodied woman semi-conscious and partially clad at about 2:20 a.m. outside on her block.

A man later identified as Keo was with the woman, but when police attempted to interview him, he fled.

The woman suffered broken bones, bleeding on the brain and a collapsed lung. She went to Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in critical condition and was put into a medically induced coma.

"She was beaten so severely it was difficult to establish her race at the time," a high-ranking police official said shortly after the attack.

When detectives from the Special Victims Unit arrested Keo at about 5 p.m. that day, he gave the name Keo Poe and that is how the media identified him, Berardinelli said. His real name came out at trial.

At the time of the attack, Keo was on probation for a February 2004 drug conviction. During that conviction, he was serving five years probation for an Oct. 7, 2002, guilty plea to terroristic threats, unlawful restraint and simple assault. The 2002 and 2004 cases stemmed from incidents in the 4th Police District.

All Review police, court and fire-related items are collected from or verified by official sources.

Items are roughly prioritized by urgency or news value. If you have already reported an incident or missing person to police and would like to inform us, call crime reporter Lorraine Gennaro at 215-336-2500 ext. 124.