Two arrested in Easter slaying on the Schuylkill

Pennsylvania State Police have arrested two men in last Easter's shooting death of a motorist on the Schuylkill Expressway, a slaying allegedly motivated by an argument over a stolen phone.

Kareem El, 29, of Philadelphia, was driving east on the expressway near the Montgomery Avenue exit around 2:30 a.m. April 8 when a car pulled up alongside his 1997 Buick LeSabre and unleashed a barrage of bullets. El was shot in the head, and his uninjured passenger was able to steer the car to a stop, police said.

Today, troopers arrested James Alston, 29, who already was in state prison for a probation violation for an unrelated May 18 shooting. Troopers had arrested another suspect, Brent Coleman, 24, on Jan. 8. Both are being held without bail on murder charges.

Ballistics helped police crack the case. A Philadelphia police officer say Alston discard a black CZ 75, 9 mm handgun after the May shooting. The gun was registered to Coleman. Ballistics tests showed the firearm matched the weapon used to kill El, state police said. Witnesses to El's murder identified Coleman as the driver and Alston as the passenger who shot El, state police said.

Alston is a repeat offender with convictions for drug offenses and corrupting minors, court records show.

The investigation was headed by Troopers Andrew J. Martin and Robert J. Levan of the state police's Philadelphia Criminal Investigation Unit.