Suspect in Haverford Twp. killing arrested in Georgia

A Philadelphia man suspected of shooting and killing 29-year-old John Le in a seemingly random attack in Haverford Township last month was arrested Tuesday afternoon in Georgia, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

Derrick Hershal Rollins, 24, was taken into custody around 12:45 p.m. in Decatur, just outside Atlanta, the Marshals Service said in a news release.

Rollins had tried to hide from investigators at the Hidden Villas apartment complex but eventually surrendered, the Marshals Service said. Authorities did not say how they had learned Rollins was in Georgia, reporting only that he was found with a woman whom they described as an “associate.”

Philadelphia Police Lt. John Walker of Southwest Detectives also declined to say how police learned that Rollins had fled south. Walker said the marshals had been conducting surveillance in the area for several weeks after police learned he might have left the Philadelphia region for Atlanta.

After Rollins’ arrest, he was taken to the DeKalb County Jail to await an extradition hearing, police said.

Although Rollins is suspected of fatally shooting Le on the 2300 block of Haverford Road just after 6 p.m. July 29, he has not been charged. Haverford Township police said detectives would be traveling to Georgia to interview him.

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Derrick Hershal Rollins

Rollins was arrested in another incident, in which police believe he fired 17 shots at people in Overbrook Park about 45 minutes before Le was killed. No one was injured in the Overbrook Park shootings, but Rollins was expected to face charges including aggravated assault in that case, while detectives from Delaware County continued to collect evidence for a potential murder prosecution.

In the days after Le’s killing, police raided addresses connected to Rollins in Philadelphia and said they believed he was still in the city.

Rollins had been dating a woman who lived at one of the houses raided by police, on the 5100 block of Locust Street in West Philadelphia, according to the woman’s grandmother, who owns the home. The grandmother — who gave only her first name, Nannette — said Tuesday that her family did not know anyone in Decatur and had not heard from Rollins while he was on the lam.

“I don’t have no reaction” to Rollins’ arrest, Nannette said. “I’m just glad that it’s over.”

Rollins has a long criminal record, with arrests for crimes including drug dealing and armed robbery, but he remained on the street due to courtroom missteps — including a gun case that was dropped in November when two Philadelphia police officers failed to show up to testify.

Still, his criminal history does not indicate any reason that Rollins might have shot Le. Police said the men did not know each other, and it did not appear that Rollins had stolen anything of value from Le. One theory, according to Haverford Township Police Chief John Viola, was that Rollins botched a robbery attempt against Le, who was carrying a bag when he was shot.

Le was a graduate of Lower Merion High School and Temple University who police said was walking to visit a friend when he was attacked. Friends described him as gentle, positive, and quick with a smile. Attempts to reach his family Tuesday were unsuccessful.

Staff writer Mensah M. Dean contributed to this article.