A 24-year-old Philadelphia man was formally charged Wednesday with fatally shooting John Le in Haverford Township in July.
Derrick Hershal Rollins was arraigned on murder charges Wednesday afternoon in Delaware County and ordered held without bail. Authorities have alleged that Rollins shot Le, 29, on the 2300 block of Haverford Road on July 29 – a crime that they have described as random because the men did not know each other and only Le’s cellphone appeared to have been stolen.
“We cannot even begin to imagine why [Rollins] killed that innocent man, who was just headed to his friend’s house,” Delaware County District Attorney John J. Whelan said at a news conference.
Rollins, who has a long criminal record with arrests on charges of drug dealing and armed robbery, said little during his brief court appearance Wednesday before District Judge Elisa Lacianca. A preliminary hearing was set for Sept. 14.
He had been extradited to Philadelphia last week after U.S. marshals apprehended him in Georgia, where he allegedly fled following the slaying.
In an affidavit of probable cause, police said two keys to identifying Rollins came from members of the public.
In one instance, the affidavit said, a tipster saw a gray Volvo sedan being driven from the murder scene. Police were able to track the vehicle and tie it to Rollins, which provided them with his name and addresses.
In the other instance, Overbrook Park residents told police that they had been shot at on the same afternoon Le was killed — and that their attacker resembled the man wanted in Le’s killing. Ballistics testing later determined that the same gun was used in both shootings, and Rollins will be charged with additional counts for the incident in Philadelphia, during which no one was injured, officials said.
Le was a graduate of Temple University and Lower Merion High School who enjoyed tennis and disc golf. He was walking to a friend’s apartment when he was attacked. Attempts to reach his family Wednesday were unsuccessful.
Haverford Township Police Chief John Viola, however, said that he has been in touch with the family, and that authorities are eager to take the case to trial to provide them with some closure.