Sunday, February 1, 2015

POSTED: Wednesday, December 10, 2014, 1:53 PM
Fallen firefighter Joyce Craig-Lewis shown in a 2014 photograph hanging on her locker at Engine Company 64.

The funeral for Joyce Craig-Lewis, who became the first female firefighter to die on duty in Philadelphia when she perished early Tuesday, will be Saturday morning.

Well-wishers will have several opportunities to pay their respects, with viewings scheduled at Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services, 7112 N. Broad St., from 6-9 p.m. this Friday and again from 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday. A funeral service is set for 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, also at Batchelor Brothers. Burial will follow in Ivy Hill Cemetery, 1202 Easton Road

Craig-Lewis, 36, an 11-year veteran and mother of two, died after she got trapped in a hellacious, overnight basement fire in a two-story brick rowhouse on Middleton Street near Woolston Avenue in West Oak Lane.

Dana DiFilippo @ 1:53 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, December 8, 2014, 5:45 PM

A spate of weekend slayings across Philadelphia left five people dead, and police on Monday publicly identified the victims.

In the most recent homicide, police were called to Hortter Street near Mansfield Avenue in East Mount Airy's Stenton section at 11:22 p.m. for a person with a gun. When they arrived, police said, officers found 23-year-old Yohannon Shemuel Alexander dead of several gunshot wounds to the chest in the driver's seat of a black Ford Focus. Alexander, who lived on 8th Street near Spencer in Olney, was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:32 p.m.

Police said on Monday they do not know who shot Alexander or why.

Morgan Zalot @ 5:45 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Friday, December 5, 2014, 5:40 PM

Tell you what: Raymond Starr had a helluva scam going for a little while there.

Members of the Philadelphia Police Department's Major Crimes Unit started following his trail in April, when they were tipped off to an apparent bank fraud scheme that the 21-year-old was allegedly running.

Capt. Roland Lee, the unit's commander, said at a news conference this morning that the scam worked like this: Starr would approach an unsuspecting person -- usually a young adult on a college campus, or on South Street -- and claim that he needed to cash a check, but didn't have a checking account of his own. 

David Gambacorta @ 5:40 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 9:41 AM
Jean Dombrowski, caregiver charged with murder in death of Plane Paciunas, 89

The caregiver of an elderly East Frankford woman who died a week after a social worker found her starving and covered in lice and maggot-infested bed sores is now charged with murder.

Jean Marie Dombrowski, 48, of Worth Street near Wakeling, was charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter, neglect of care of a dependent person and theft by deception in the Nov. 15 death of Prane Paciunas, 89, said Officer Rafeeq Strickland, a police spokesman.

Police — summoned by a Philadelphia Council for Aging worker doing a well-being check — found Paciunas lying on a mattress in the first-floor living room of a ramshackle home on Haworth Street near Torresdale Avenue on Nov. 7, Strickland said.

Dana DiFilippo @ 9:41 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, December 2, 2014, 10:11 PM

Fifteen years after Warner Freeman was gunned down, police say they've arrested the man who pulled the trigger.

Tariq Rashid, 41, was charged yesterday with murder and related offenses in Freeman's death, a police spokeswoman said.

Police found Freeman, 21, at Lankenau Medical Center on the night of June 13, 1999. Medical staff told the responding officers that an unidentified person had dropped the West Philly resident off at the hospital before speeding away, the spokeswoman said.

Vinny Vella @ 10:11 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, December 2, 2014, 12:42 PM
Meek Mills takes of his tie as he leaves federal court after the verdict went against him in Philadelphia on May 1, 2014. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)

One of Philly rapper Meek Mill's songs is called "Amen," which is exactly what he may be saying when he's released from prison today.

Meek Mill, whose real name is Robert Williams, is slated to be released today from the Hoffman House, a private North Philadelphia prison that has a contract with the city, according to Shawn Hawes, Philadelphia prisons spokeswoman.

Mill, 27, has been incarcerated since July 11th when a judge sentenced him to three-to-six months in prison for violating his probation on a drug-and-gun case from 2009.

Stephanie Farr @ 12:42 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, December 1, 2014, 2:48 PM
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey talks to the media outside the CJC in center city March 31, 2009. (ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff photographer) (DN)

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey was one of two people appointed by President Barack Obama today to chair his Task Force on 21st Century Policing, according to a news release from the White House.

The task force will include community leaders and law enforcement representatives. It will examine how to build public trust and how to effectively promote crime reduction, the release said.

Ramsey, who is president of the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association, will chair the task force with Laurie Robinson, a former assistant attorney general and a professor at George Mason University.

Stephanie Farr @ 2:48 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, December 1, 2014, 1:45 PM
Members of the Ferguson Police department wear body cameras during a rally August 30, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. While black representation on police forces has improved, at least 49 departments had a majority Hispanic population, yet more than half of the police department was white. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

More than 30 officers over in the 22nd District, which is headquartered at 17th Street and Montgomery Avenue in North Philadelphia, began wearing body cameras today as part of a pilot program, according to police.

The officers, all of whom volunteered for the program, will test six different brands of on-body cameras. The tests will begin on the day-work tours and move on to night-shift tours as the six-month pilot program continues.

"During this initiative, officers will evaluate the performance of each body camera, as well as test the process of collecting and storing captured footage in an evidence management system," a news release read.

Stephanie Farr @ 1:45 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
About this blog

Philly Confidential, which covers crime in Philadelphia and the suburbs, is written by Daily News staffers Dana DiFilippo, Stephanie Farr, Vinny Vella and Morgan Zalot.

E-mail tips to DiFilippo at and follow her on Twitter here.

E-mail tips to Farr at and follow her on Twitter here.

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