Beaten, bound and gagged man found in North Philadelphia

A bound, gagged and badly beaten man was thrown out of a van in a parking lot in North Philadelphia Tuesday night, and investigators were looking into the possibility that the incident may have been related to a homicide in Juniata Park earlier in the day.

Police said the 27-year-old man was tossed out of a white van just before 8:30 p.m. in the parking lot of Hope Plaza, at 22nd Street and Lehigh Avenue. He was bound and gagged with duct tape and beaten badly enough that his eyes were swollen shut and his nose was bleeding, police said.

Chief Inspector Scott Small said officers stopped a van matching the description of the one involved a few blocks away, at 29th and Lehigh, shortly after the man was found. The two occupants of the van, a 40-year-old man and a woman, had blood on them and were arrested in connection with the incident, Small said.

The beating victim was taken to Temple University Hospital and listed in stable condition.

Homicide detectives were at the scene investigating the possibility that the incident was related to the murder of a 46-year-old man Tuesday morning on Palmetto Street near Pike, because the beating victim told police that the occupants of the van killed his friend, according to a police source. The man allegedly stopped cooperating with investigators after making that claim.

Police continued to hold the scene, where blood and dirt marked the spot in the lot where the man was dropped, late Tuesday night.