Archive: April, 2010
It could have been worse. Much worse.
A young mother who had an infant strapped to her chest and a toddler nestled in a stroller in front of her was shot in the shoulder on a busy South Philadelphia street corner today.
Another woman, who was standing a few feet away, had a bullet graze the back of her head, police said.
Neither was seriously injured. Clearly, though, they had been inches, maybe centimeters, away from something far more tragic.
“It was a miracle,” an investigator said last night. “Absolutely a miracle.”
Divine luck aside, here’s what was known for certain: Both women were shot next to the Sun King House take-out store at 20th Street and Snyder Avenue about 4 p.m., said police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore.
The shooting unfolded in a neighborhood that’s long been accustomed to the sound of random gunfire interrupting otherwise quiet afternoons.
The mother, a 27-year-old woman whose name was not released, was struck by a slug in her right shoulder.
Her 2-month-old boy, who was snuggled in a baby carrier on her chest, was not harmed, nor was her little girl, who was in a stroller, Vanore said.
The other victim, a 24-year-old woman whose name was not released, had a bullet scream by the back of her head.
Both women, Vanore said, were admitted to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
The gunman drove up in a green car, got out and fired four shots as he stood at 20th and Mercy streets, half a block north of where the women were standing. The shooter got back in the car and sped off.
The motive was unknown. Whether either woman was an intended target was also unclear, Vanore said.
Several residents appeared weary at the mere mention of the shooting.
“People have to live their lives in fear around here,” said Darryl Hollis, 54, who leaned against a railing on 20th Street as he stared at the crime scene.
“Bullets don’t have no names on them. Anyone can get shot,” he said. “The people shooting at each other, they have no concern for other people.”
On nearby Mercy Street, a woman sweeping the pavement in front of her house, who asked not to be named, sighed when asked about the shooting.
“The cops are here all the time. It doesn’t faze us any more,” she said. “I’ll be watching over my shoulder if I go up that way.”
The upchuck that was heard 'round the world continues to fascinate people, in a horrified sort of way.
I'm talking, of course, about Matthew Clemmens, the Cherry Hill, N.J., man who allegedly forced himself to vomit on the 11-year-old daughter of Easton Police Capt. Mike Vangelo at Wednesday's Phillies game. (To read the original story, click here.)
Today, my colleague Jason Nark caught up with one of Clemmens' relatives, who defended the 21-year-old. I checked in with Vangelo, who stands by the disturbing chain of events that he and police say unfolded earlier this week. Oh, and the Phillies released a statement, expressing regret for the ordeal Vangelo and his two daughters endured. Here's a brief glimpse of the story, which will appear in tomorrow's Daily News:
Members of the police Special Victims Unit will be handing out flyers tomorrow in Fairmount Park and Pennypack Park to remind the public that the infamous Fairmount Park rapist is still lurking out there, somewhere.
It's been seven years since the cold-blooded predator first entered the public's consciousness, when he raped a woman near Kelly Drive and Fountain Green Road. That same year, police said, the fiend raped and murdered 30-year-old medical student Rebecca Park in the woods in West Fairmount Park, and attempted to rape another woman near the Falls Bridge.
The attacker last struck in 2007, when investigators said he raped a woman in Pennypack Park, near Frankford Avenue and Solly Avenue.
Police today released surveillance images of two men described as "persons of interest" in the April 2 shooting death of Sebree Johnson, 19.
Johnson was gunned down about 8 p.m. that night after he left the Dean Deli Grocery on Rising Sun Avenue near Rosalie Street in Crescentville. Investigators said Johnson, who graduated from Simon Gratz High School in 2008, had been involved in a fight with another man earlier that day.
The two men shown in the images were inside the deli before the shooting took place, said Homicide Sgt. Frank Hayes. He declined to say why police are specifically looking at the two men.
A 19-year-old resident who was supposed to be under suicide watch at the Youth Study Center in East Falls tried to kill himself on Wednesday when he was left unsupervised, officials said.
“We did have a minor incident,” said Alicia Taylor, spokeswoman for the Department of Human Services, which runs the center, at Henry Avenue and Roberts Avenue.
About 11 a.m., the teen “was left alone for a short period of time, and did try to inflict harm on himself,” Taylor said.
The teen apparently tried to hang himself with a bed sheet that he had tied to a sprinkler.
His suicide attempt was foiled when the sprinkler gave way, causing a minor flood, Taylor said.
The youth was taken to an area hospital for minor injuries.
“We’re very grateful this wasn’t a more serious event,” Taylor said.
“We’re currently doing an internal investigation to determine what happened.”
Lorenzo North, the president of the Prison Guards Union Local 159, which represents guards at the Youth Study Center, said yesterday that he was aware of the attempted suicide, but couldn’t comment further.
Seriously, what’s wrong with this guy?
Matthew Clemmens, a 21-year-old from South Jersey, took boorish behavior at a sporting event to an all-time low at Wednesday’s Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park, authorities said.
His alleged crime had nothing to do with snow balls or batteries.
Police said Clemmens intentionally vomited on the 11-year-old daughter of an off-duty Easton police captain, and then slugged the cop in the head several times.
The disgusting display followed several innings’ worth of slurred curses and spilled beer that Clemmens and another man directed at Michael Vangelo, his two daughters and one of their friends, said Philadelphia police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore.
“It reminds you of the type of behavior you used to hear about at the 700 level in Veterans Stadium,” Vanore said. “It won’t be tolerated.”
Clemmens’ vile harassment of Vangelo and his daughters was witnessed by another off-duty Easton cop who punched Clemmens after he doused the young girl in vomit, Vanore said.
His antics didn’t end there. When Philadelphia police tried to arrest Clemmens, “he fought with them for a little while. He apparently threw up on one of the officers, too,” Vanore added.
Clemmens, of Cherry Hill, N.J., was charged with simple assault, aggravated assault, harassment, resisting arrest and related offenses.
Two members of the Philadelphia Police Department will receive a top award tomorrow from the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a national organization of progressive police officials.
Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross and Chief Administrative Officer Nola Joyce will both receive the Gary P. Hayes Memorial Award during a ceremony at the Ritz Carlton. Ross and Joyce are being honored for developing major crime reduction programs during the past two years, when homicides have fallen 23 percent in the city, PERF officials said.
Attorney General Eric Holder will offer the keynote address at the 11 a.m. ceremony.
Once again, Jose Carrasquillo was on the receiving end of a beating.
Carrasquillo, who was charged last June with raping an 11-year-old girl in Kensington, was apparently pummeled by corrections officers after a confrontation Sunday at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, officials said.
While some details of the brouhaha remain unclear, this much is known for certain: Carrasquillo is in critical condition at Aria Health’s Torresdale campus with various injuries, a hospital spokeswoman said today.
One news report suggested he was in a coma; the spokeswoman said she couldn’t confirm that detail.
Lorenzo North, the president of the Prison Guards Union Local 159, said Carrasquillo attacked a sergeant and four corrections officer with a sock that was stuffed with a bar of soap.
“That’s a jailhouse weapon,” North said. “They did what they had to do to protect themselves and subdue the inmate.”
Prison spokesman Bob Eskind acknowledged that some sort of sock weapon was found in Carrasquillo’s cell, but couldn’t confirm if the accused child rapist had attacked the guards.
Eskind said the confrontation began about 7:45 p.m. Sunday, when the guards asked the 27-year-old inmate to leave his cell.
What happened next is under investigation, he noted.
North said that in addition to the stuffed sock, guards found two sharpened pens in Carrasquillo’s cell that could have been used as weapons.
“All I know is that he wasn’t in no coma when he left the prison,” North added.
Carrasquillo was beaten down by an angry mob in Kensington on June 2, after police identified him as a “person of interest” in the rape of a schoolgirl that had taken place the day before. DNA evidence later positively linked him to the crime.
Eskind said Carrasquillo is currently in solitary confinement because of the high-profile nature of his case