Most Wanted fugitive nabbed

A young man detectives identified as the "known leader" of the 27th and Dickinson Street gang has been taken into custody and charged with two shootings that occurred last year.

Tyrik Upchurch, 20, was arrested Jan. 24 near 26th and Manton streets by members of the Major Crimes Unit and charged with several counts of attempted murder, aggravated and simple assault and firearms offenses, Detective Nancy Morley of South Detective Division said.

The resident from the 1300 block of South 27th Street has been on the police department’s Most Wanted list since April.

One shooting Upchurch was charged with last week happened at about 5:30 p.m. March 25 on the 1400 block of South Etting Street. Upchurch was allegedly firing at a group of males from inside a black truck when bullets struck 9- and 12-year-old girls exiting a car driven by the older victim’s 27-year-old father, police said. With wounds to their left arms, the victims were treated and released from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

The second shooting for which Upchurch was charged happened Oct. 14 on the 2800 block of Wharton Street, where witnesses said they spotted the suspect unloading several rounds at a man sitting in the front passenger-side seat of a car. The 27-year-old victim was hit five times in the abdomen and back, but survived.

Upchurch’s 15-year-old brother Malik was shot and killed July 1, 2004, in what police said was retaliation in an ongoing neighborhood turf war with a faction from 31st Street. The teen was riding his bike at 28th and Wharton streets at about 3:30 p.m. when two men ambushed him. Aleem Williams and Jermaine King were convicted of first-degree murder in ’05 and sentenced to life in prison. Williams was 17 and King, 20, at the time of the crime. Witnesses identified King, from 31st and Tasker streets, as the shooter and Williams, from 28th and Dickinson, as his accomplice. Homicide detectives told the Review shortly after the killing it was retaliation for a June 28, 2004, triple shooting at 28th and Dickinson where King’s 18-year-old brother Hakim was one of three men shot.

Posing a problem

After wanting to know what was up, one of two thugs pulled a gun and opened fire on a 17- and 23-year-old talking on a porch at about 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

The perpetrators walked up the 1900 block of Beechwood Street and, after asking the question, one pulled a firearm and used it, Detective Joe Chiaro of South Detectives said. Bullets struck the two as they sought refuge inside the dwelling.

The teen was hit in his right upper leg and went to Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, while the older man was struck in the right lower leg and went to Methodist. Both were treated and released.

Detectives recovered seven .22-caliber casings at the scene and the offenders were described as black. One was about 19, 6 foot with a thin build and wearing a gray jacket and blue jeans; the other was about 16, 5-foot-8 with a medium build and wearing a black coat and jeans.

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

Arrests in Geno’s attack

Two men accused of viciously beating a steak shop employee surrendered to police days apart.

Accompanied by his attorney, Kevin Bacci, 19, from Devon, turned himself in to South Detectives at 24th and Wolf streets last Friday. Bacci was charged with attempted murder, aggravated and simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, harassment, terroristic threats and criminal conspiracy, Lt. Frank Vanore of the Police Public Affairs Unit said.

Michael Morrisson, 21, from Berwyn, surrendered to South Detectives Monday and was charged with the same.

The charges stem from a 6:30 a.m. Dec. 27 incident at Geno’s Steaks, 1219 S. Ninth St., when the two allegedly began verbally harassing an employee at the counter. Another worker spotted the disturbance and came outside, asking the men to leave, at which time Bacci allegedly picked up the 27-year-old and flipped him two times onto his head, knocking him unconscious, police said. The victim suffered broken bones, a fractured vertebra and loss of hearing in one ear.

Senior’s murder remains unsolved

Almost a year after 82-year-old Julia Kay was murdered in her own home, her neighbors on the 2100 block of Iseminger Street remember the woman whose slaying remains unsolved.

The case now is in the hands of Philly Homicide’s Special Investigations Unit, which takes on cold cases. Wishing to remain nameless, the man and his mother who said they found Kay’s bloodied body Feb. 2 in her basement, where the attacker left her for dead, said it was a sight they would never forget.

"She was my neighbor for 44 years — a nice lady. I would just like to see it solved," the man told the Review.

Hours earlier at about 9 a.m., the offender stalked Kay after she left Beneficial Savings Bank at Broad Street and Snyder Avenue, police said. The man followed her to Rite Aid down the block, then home, where he forced the woman inside.

Throwing Kay to the ground, the thug punched and kicked her, demanding she turn over the money and threatening to "finish" her off if she got up, police said. Immediately after the attack, the man fled the home empty-handed.

"It’s almost like it was more about the beating [than the money]," Homicide Detective Brian Peters told the Review earlier this week.

Kay hung on for almost two weeks until she died from head, facial and body injuries Feb. 20 at HUP. After her death, the Citizens Crime Commission posted a $5,000 reward donated by Beneficial Savings Bank that still stands for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the offender.

"The Crime Commission is looking for people to step up and speak up. We want to solve this thing," organization Vice President Santo Montecalvo said.

Detectives released Rite Aid surveillance footage of the offender wearing what they described as a unique jacket. Investigators have since contacted South Pole Clothing, which manufactured the jacket for its fall/winter 2003 collection, and found several were sold in the Philadelphia area, Peters said. The black jacket has several white insignias.

"It’s such a distinct coat. Somebody has to know who this is," he added.

Police don’t know if Kay’s assailant lives in South Philly and aren’t ruling out he could be a transient.

"I don’t have a suspect," the detective said. "I’ll take any information I can get from the public."

The perpetrator was described as black, about 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-10 with a medium build, sparse facial hair and prescription glasses.

To be eligible for the reward, tips must be phoned in to the Commission at 215-546-TIPS. Callers may remain anonymous, but must receive a code from a live operator. Information also may be reported directly to the Homicide Division at 215-686-3334/5.