Update: Police, victim's son plead for tips in savage murder of food vendor

Don Ly, 68, a food truck vendor, was murdered outside his South Philadelphia home Thursday morning, April 18, 2013. Police and Ly's family are pleading with the public to provide any tips in Ly's killing. (Family photo)

Update, 3:43 p.m.:

Police have identified the 68-year-old fruit cart owner slain in what police called a savage stabbing Thursday morning in South Philadelphia as Don Ly, and investigators are asking the public for their help in catching the murderer.

Homicide Unit Capt. James Clark said Ly was following the same routine he'd followed for the past decade outside his home on Vollmer Street near 4th around 5 a.m. when an unknown assailant approached him and stabbed him numerous times in the chest and neck.

Ly had just loaded his fruit cart and was ready to head to work in University City, Clark said. He died shortly after the attack at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Clark said Ly lived on the block for 17 years and described the man as a loving husband and father of adult children.

"It's very sad and very senseless that he would die in this manner," Clark said.

Investigators do not believe robbery was the motive for the attack -- Clark said Ly's wallet, money and jewelry were still on him when police arrived. Clark said detectives obtained some surveillance video from the area and were examining it Thursday afternoon.

Outside Ly's home on the quiet block where he'd lived for nearly two decades and raised four children, his son, Hoanh Ly, 38, said his father loved to work and was a great father.

"He never complained in his life about working hard," the soft-spoken man said. "I just don't know what to think. It's senseless to do this kind of thing. He never bothered anybody."

Ly leaves behind his wife, four adult children and a 9-year-old granddaughter.

Police and Ly's son implored the public to call the Homicide Unit with any tips in the murder. Tipsters should contact 215-686-3334 or 3335. Police can also be reached via the text-a-tip line at PPD TIP (773847) or at 215-686-TIPS (8477).


Police are seeking suspects in three murders this morning, after a man was gunned down in East Mount Airy, an elderly man was stabbed to death in South Philadelphia and a bound, decomposing body was found in East Germantown.

In the first case, police were called to Magnolia Street between Queen Lane and Bringhurst Street about 9 p.m. Wednesday to investigate apparent human remains about 15 yards into the woods, Officer Tanya Little, a police spokeswoman, said. The body, which appeared to be female, was bound by rope and wrapped in a blue blanket, Little said. Police area awaiting autopsy results. The victim remains unidentified.

Three hours later, homicide detectives hurried to Sharpnack Street near Boyer, where a man was collapsed on the sidewalk with a gunshot wound to his left side, Little said. Medics declared him dead on the scene just after midnight. Shortly after, someone stabbed a 68-year-old man repeatedly on Vollmer Street near 4th Street, Little said. The victim, who suffered at least seven stab wounds to his neck, chest, arm and side, died just after 5:30 a.m. at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Police reported no suspects or motive in any of the cases, and declined to release the identities of the gun and knife slayings, pending notification of kin. Anyone with information about these slayings is urged to call homicide detectives at (215) 686-3334 or -3335.