Reward offered in Zabel's killing

A memorial for 23-year-old Beau Zabel near where he lived and died on Ellsworth Street in South Philadelphia.

Officials posted a $10,000 reward yesterday to find the killer of an aspiring teacher from Minnesota who police say was shot dead as he was robbed of his iPod.

The Citizens Crime Commission of Delaware Valley announced the reward for the arrest of the killer of Beau Zabel, 23, who moved to Philadelphia last month. He was scheduled to begin learning to teach math in city schools July 1.

"We just need one person to call us and the whole thing can turn around," Homicide Capt. James Clark said. "Maybe with this [reward], we'll get that one call."

Police have surveillance video showing a "person of interest" who appears to be tucking a gun into his belt near the scene of the early Sunday morning slaying in South Philadelphia. Yesterday, officers handed out flyers in the area with Zabel's picture and asked anyone with information to call police.

Tipsters can remain anonymous when they call the crime commission at 215-546-8477 (TIPS).

The reward was provided by Starbucks, which employed Zabel at its store at Fourth and South Streets. Zabel was walking home from his job when he was attacked on the 800 block of Ellsworth Street, about a block from his home.

Zabel's mother boarded a flight for Minneapolis yesterday afternoon with her son's cremated remains. The family began making arrangements for a scholarship fund and a Boy Scout memorial to keep his dreams alive.

"I'm not going to concentrate on the last few minutes of his life, but celebrate and remember the important part of his life," said Lana Zamora, who expressed gratitude to the investigators searching for the killer.

"The detectives kept saying they wanted me to have closure. 'We want to find the person so you could have closure,' " she said. "Finding the person isn't going to be closure for me. It will be for the city, for the detectives, but that's not what I'm going to concentrate on for my future."

Mayor Nutter, speaking yesterday outside a farmers' market at City Hall, said he was saddened by the killing, expressed condolences to the family, and said all homicides in the city detracted from the quality of life.

"Unfortunately, there's too much of this kind of activity almost on a daily basis here in Philadelphia," he said. "Our goal, of course, is to reduce the crime rate. We want the city to be exciting and attractive to people who already live here, but at the same time, attract people who might want to come from other places."

John Apeldorn of the crime commission said he was not sure how the community could tolerate such crime.

"Here's a young individual, he comes to the city of Philadelphia, his whole future's ahead of him, and before you know it, he's shot and killed in a robbery," Apeldorn said.

In the surveillance video, a man hides an object in a flowerpot in the 800 block of Alter Street, which runs parallel to Ellsworth, and later retrieves it, concealing it in his waistband and leaving. The shooting happened outside camera range.

Police described the man as black, 5-foot-10 to 6 feet tall, with a medium build. He was wearing dark jeans, a white T-shirt, and white sneakers.

The grainy images show no clear picture of the man's face or anything that stands out on the clothing.

Relatives have said Zabel entered the Philadelphia Teaching Fellows program because it would allow him to teach in city public schools while getting his certification.

Zamora said the family would like a scholarship that reflects her son's interests, particularly his dedication to teaching and the Boy Scouts.

"It's to honor everything that Beau had dreamed of," Zamora said. "It would be a way to carry his dreams further."

Services for Zabel will be held Friday and Saturday.

Visitation is scheduled for 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Worlein Funeral Home, 1801 Fourth St. N.W., Austin, Minn. A private funeral service is scheduled for Saturday in Austin.

Contact staff writer Barbara Boyer at 215-854-2641 or