Monday, May 25, 2015

POSTED: Wednesday, May 13, 2015, 12:24 PM

A cousin of U.S. Naval Academy midshipman Justin Zemser confirmed that he died aboard the Amtrak train that derailed in Philadelphia last night.

Reached by phone, the cousin said the family was grieving and not yet ready to speak with the media.

Zemser, 20, was a sophomore at the U.S. Naval Academy, where he played on the school's Sprint Football team.

Stephanie Farr @ 12:24 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Tuesday, May 12, 2015, 1:49 PM

A special-needs student was hurt Monday afternoon when several boys chucked rocks and bricks at a school bus, smashing a window, police said.

Police now are hunting for the boys, who a witness estimated to be in their early teens.

The special-needs student, 20, suffered facial cuts and eye injuries after the shattered glass rained on her in the 3:30 p.m. incident at 47th and Aspen streets, police said. Medics took her to Penn-Presbyterian Medical Center, where she was treated and released. 

Dana DiFilippo @ 1:49 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Monday, May 11, 2015, 4:14 PM
Cynthia Morrison and her son Orion Sistrunk were charged after police intervened while they tried to get a family member help. ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

A man arrested for assaulting a Philly police officer last fall when he and his family tried to commit his brother to a West Philadelphia hospital for psychiatric care was acquitted today.

Municipal Court Judge Jacquelyn Frazier-Lyde found Orion Sistrunk, 39, not guilty of conspiracy, simple assault and reckless endangerment in the Oct. 25 incident outside Mercy Philadelphia Hospital, at 54th Street and Cedar Avenue. Another judge had dismissed an aggravated assault charge in December.

"I'm very happy with the decision, but I'm also saddened it took six months for the truth to come out," Sistrunk said afterward.

Dana DiFilippo @ 4:14 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Thursday, May 7, 2015, 9:48 PM

Six men have been shot, two fatally, in a violent pocket of Fairhill in the past two days, police said.

In all three incidents, police reported no arrests or suspects.

During the most recent violence, a 30-year-old man was shot in the stomach and chest about 7 p.m. Thursday on 4th Street near Cambria, police said. He was wounded alongside a 24-yeat-old man shot once in his stomach.

Vinny Vella @ 9:48 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Thursday, May 7, 2015, 7:54 PM

A 12-year-old boy is recovering after getting stabbed in the back while protecting his sister in a street fight, authorities said.

The incident happened just after 3:30 p.m. at the Frankford Playground, on Saul Street near Pratt, police said. A large group of girls had planned to meet there after school for a fight, according to a police source.

Investigators believe the girls all attend Phase 4 Learning Center, on Franklin Mills Boulevard near Woodhaven Road in Northeast Philly, and that the fight is part of an ongoing feud among the students.

Vinny Vella @ 7:54 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Thursday, May 7, 2015, 7:31 PM
SEPTA Route 29 bus crashes at Columbus Boulevard and Dickinson Street in Philadelphia on May 7, 2015. (Screen grab from SEPTA video)

The woman behind the wheel of a SEPTA bus that nearly hit a freight train in South Philly on Tuesday lost control when she fell out of her seat, as seen in footage released by the transit authority.

That driver, who has not been identified, was not wearing her seat belt at the time of the crash, which is in direct violation of SEPTA guidelines, according to spokeswoman Jerri Williams.

"Had she had her seat belt on, the likelihood of this accident would have been greatly diminished," said Williams.

Vinny Vella @ 7:31 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Thursday, May 7, 2015, 12:14 PM

Police have arrested two drivers in unrelated accidents that left an aspiring art student dead last summer and a Temple University senior critically injured last month.

Capt. John Wilczynski, commander of the accident investigation division, said today that Erica Zanczuk, 30, of Morrell Park, was arrested in the death last summer of Justin Reidy, 22. 

Reidy was standing on the sidewalk, waiting for a bus, on Academy Road near the Northeast Airport just after 3 a.m. on Aug. 1 when Zanczuk lost control of her speeding 1997 Nissan Pathfinder, jumped the curb, hit Reidy and then slammed into a utility pole, knocking it to the ground, police said. Reidy died at the scene, and investigators at the time suspected drunk-driving.

Dana DiFilippo @ 12:14 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Wednesday, May 6, 2015, 8:43 PM
Hasheem Singletary

A teen wanted in a string of violent robberies is on the lam, police said.

Hasheem Singletary, 16, escaped from private contractors hired to haul him back to the city from Florida about 7 p.m., according to police.

Singletary, of Wallace Street near 39th in Mantua is considered a suspect in three gunpoint robberies: A home invasion Feb. 12 on Pine Street near 44th in West Philly; a second home invasion Feb. 15 on 31st Street near Hamilton in Powelton; and a holdup Feb. 16 on 41st Street near Spring Garden in Powelton, according to Lt. John Walker of Southwest Detectives.

Vinny Vella @ 8:43 PM  Permalink |
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.

E-mail tips to Vella at and follow him on Twitter here.

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

The Philly Confidential team
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