Friday, July 25, 2014
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Police probe two overnight slayings

Police are seeking suspects in two overnight homicides.

Police probe two overnight slayings

This post has been updated.

Police are seeking suspects in two overnight homicides.

In the first, Amanda Martinez, 20, of Luray Street near Front in Feltonville, died at Episcopal Hospital, within a half hour after after she was shot once in the chest when a gun battle erupted on a crowded Kensington block just before 6 p.m. Tuesday night. Three men, ages 18, 21 and 35, also were shot but remain in stable condition at Temple University Hospital. Investigators suspect earlier fights, possibly over drugs, sparked the gunfire

Homicide Capt. James Clark described Martinez as "a totally innocent bystander" who caught a bullet when a man pulled out a gun during a melee that erupted on Somerset Street near Lee. About 75 to 100 people were on the street when two women began fighting, leading to the melee that included 20 to 30 combatants, Clark said. The only description of the gunman witnesses gave was that he was a short, light-complected man, Clark said. Detectives are revisiting the block today to hunt for surveillance video that could help solve the case.

Drugs are a problem in that area, but investigators aren't sure if that sparked or contributed to the chaos. Martinez has no criminal record, Clark added. He urged anyone with information about the case to call homicide detectives at (215) 686-3334 or -3335.

Five hours later, homicide detectives raced to 54th Street near Chestnut in West Philadelphia, where Marquis Battle, 18, was shot as he was riding his bicycle near his home. Battle died at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania at 11:14 p.m. Police reported no suspects or motive. At the time of his death, Battle was awaiting a preliminary hearing on aggravated assault, gun offenses and related charges from a July 2012 case, according to court records.

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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.

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