Diners' tiff ends in Old City killing

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Crime-scene tape and a police cruiser mark the spot along the 200 block of Market Street where a man was shot to death overnight. Police said the shooting followed an argument in a lounge.

Police detectives canvassed Old City businesses near the scene of an early morning homicide yesterday, seeking clues in the shooting death of a 29-year-old Southwest Philadelphia man.

Keith Gray, 29, of the 6000 block of Chester Avenue, was shot and killed about 1 a.m. outside the upscale Prive Tapas Restaurant and Lounge on Market Street just east of Third.

Gray and an unidentified man first argued inside the restaurant and were asked to leave by staff, police said. Once outside, the argument turned physical and the man pulled a gun, shooting Gray in the chest, stomach and twice in the right thigh. The gunman fled on foot; Gray was taken to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after 3 a.m.

Detectives at the scene would not comment on the status of the investigation.

Prive's executive chef, Peter Karapanagiotis, said the restaurant would be open last night. He was not there at the time of the shooting and did not know if Prive's management would be taking any extra security precautions.

At Second and Market Streets, Continental general manager Erin Butterworth said she was shocked by the shooting and was considering adding extra security during the restaurant's late-night hours. Continental was open at the time of the incident, but Butterworth said neither she nor her employees heard about the shooting until later in the day.

Just a few doors down from Prive at Sign-A-Rama, manager Neal Herzog said he would like to see a greater police presence in the area as more late-night spots like Prive open in the neighborhood.

"I'm concerned that if it can happen at one o'clock, it can happen at nine o'clock," when there are more people around, he said.

Across town, about a dozen of Gray's friends and family gathered yesterday at the home he sometimes shared with his mother, Eunice Gray. Family members believe the gunman was likely someone from the neighborhood who knew Gray.

Gray said her son was a "good, quiet man" who got involved with "the wrong crowd." She said that he was between jobs as a house contractor and leaves behind a 3-year-old son, Jamal.

 


Contact staff writer Zoe Tillman at 215-854-2771 or ztillman@phillynews.com.