Khisser Davis-Papther was just being a 13-year-old kid, hanging with friends at a Nicetown takeout restaurant last month, when the group yelled something silly at a man on a passing bus, police say.
But two older teens on the bus thought the younger kids were directing the wisecracks at them, according to Homicide Capt. James Clark. They got off the bus and walked into the restaurant, and one allegedly put a gun to Davis-Papther's head and pulled the trigger.
“About as senseless as it gets,” Clark said Monday in announcing the arrests of Tymear Johnson, 19, of Grays Ferry, and Christopher T. Southerland, 18, of Nicetown.
Davis-Papther, who could be seen on surveillance video sitting with friends at a table inside the restaurant before the shooting, survived for nine days before dying at St. Christopher's Hospital on March 19.
Johnson was picked up by police Sunday and charged with murder, conspiracy, and related offenses. Police believe he fired the shot.
Southerland was arrested March 22 and also faces counts of murder, conspiracy, and possessing an instrument of crime.
The shooting happened around 10:33 p.m. March 10 inside the Gold Fish takeout on the 2000 block of West Hunting Park Avenue, police said.
Clark said detectives linked Johnson and Southerland to the killing through surveillance footage. The teens got off the bus with two girls, according to Clark, and could be seen holding bags that the detectives were able to connect to a store in King of Prussia.
The detectives then obtained surveillance video from that store — which Clark did not name — and the footage provided a better look at the teens' faces, which helped police to identify them.
Detectives last month questioned the girls and Southerland, charging him with murder before arresting Johnson over the weekend.
Both Southerland and Johnson were held without bail, according to court records. The records did not say whether they had attorneys.
Attempts to reach Davis-Papther's family Monday were unsuccessful. Clark said there was no indication that the older teens knew him, and he said Davis-Papther and his friends were attempting to heckle an older man on the bus, not Southerland or Johnson.
Clark said he did not know why the older teens shot Davis-Papther and not someone else in the group.
“Only thing I can think of is, he was closest,” he said.
Preliminary hearings for Southerland and Johnson are scheduled for later this month.