WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26, 2017

Category: LOCAL NEWS

Teen Accidentally Shot Friend in the Face Trying to Wake Him Up For School in Southwest Philly


SOUTHWEST PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Police say a teenager was accidentally shot in the face by a friend who was trying to wake him up for school.

It happened just after 7 a.m. Monday at the victim’s home in the 5300 block of Lindbergh Boulevard in Southwest Philadelphia.

According to investigators, a 16-year-old was trying wake up a 17-year-old.

When the 17-year-old didn’t wake up at first, police say the 16-year-old pointed a gun at him. He allegedly told investigators he did it as a joke.

The 17-year-old woke up, but the gun startled him. When he went to push it away, the gun went off, investigators say.

Medics rushed the victim to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in critical condition.

There was no word on any charges as the investigation continues.

Police are also working to determine where the gun came from.

Philly Mayor says Legalize WEED big Pot Bust is a Waste of Time


FRANKFORD (WPVI) — The mayor of Philadelphia says Pennsylvania should legalize marijuana so police don’t have to expend resources on busts like the one in his city over the weekend.

Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney says Saturday’s raid at a warehouse hosting a pot-smoking party might have been “overkill.” Police arrested 22 people and seized more than 50 pounds of marijuana. About 175 people were allowed to leave without charges.

The mayor says he understands why police busted the party, citing the large amount of marijuana present and potentially dangerous conditions in the building.

But he says marijuana legalization is “the real solution.”

In 2014, the city made possession of small amounts of the drug punishable only by a citation and a fine, but marijuana sales weren’t decriminalized.

Facebook Killer Steve Stephens Shoots Himself during Police Chase in PA


PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — The man who randomly gunned down a Cleveland retiree and posted video of the crime on Facebook killed himself Tuesday during a police chase in Pennsylvania that began when a McDonald’s drive-thru attendant recognized him.

It marked a violent end to the nearly 48-hour multistate manhunt for Steve Stephens, whose case brought another round of criticism down on Facebook over how responsibly it polices objectionable material posted by users.

Acting on a tip from the McDonald’s, Pennsylvania state troopers spotted Stephens leaving the restaurant in Erie and went after him, bumping his car to try to get it to stop, authorities said. He shot himself in the head after the car spun out of control and came to a stop, police said.

“This started with one tragedy and ended with another person taking their own life,” said Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams. “We would have liked to have brought Steve in peacefully and really talked to him about why this happened.”

Stephens, a 37-year-old job counselor who worked with young people, was wanted on murder charges in the killing of Robert Godwin Sr., 74, a former foundry worker and father of 10 who was picking up aluminum cans on Sunday when he was shot.

The chilling video was on Facebook for three hours before it was taken down. It was just the latest instance of crime footage being shared on social media.

At a Silicon Valley conference Tuesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg briefly addressed the Cleveland case, saying Facebook has “a lot of work to do” and “we will keep doing all we can to prevent tragedies like this.”

Police would not speculate on what was behind the killing, but in the video and other footage he posted, Stephens talked about losing everything he had to gambling and having trouble with his girlfriend. He said he “just snapped.”

One of Godwin’s daughters, Debbie Godwin, said she wished Stephens had been captured.

“I’m not happy he’s dead at all, not at all. If you did it, you have to face your crime,” she said.

The break in the case came when police received a tip that Stephens was at the McDonald’s in Erie, in the northwestern corner of the state, about 100 miles east of Cleveland. He ordered a 20-piece Chicken McNuggets and french fries, according to the manager.

Restaurant owner Thomas DuCharme Jr. told the Erie Times-News that the drive-thru attendant thought she recognized Stephens and called state police. State Police Maj. William Teper Jr. would say only that the tip came from a “concerned citizen.”

The McDonald’s employees tried to “buy some time for the cops” by telling Stephens his order of fries was delayed, but Stephens said he had no time to wait and drove off, according to Ducharme.

Police picked up the trail in a chase that lasted 2 miles before Stephens took his own life, authorities said.

The police chief said that it wasn’t clear whether Stephens had any help while he was on the run or where he had been and that investigators will try to retrace his steps. Stephens’ cellphone had been tracked Sunday afternoon near Erie, officials said on Monday.

Facebook said it removed the video of the shooting 23 minutes after learning of it. The company has since announced it is launching a review for reporting harmful content.

“This is something that should not have been shared around the world. Period,” Cleveland’s police chief said.

In the video, Stephens told Godwin the name of his girlfriend and said, “She’s the reason that this is about to happen to you.” Godwin did not seem to recognize the name.

The woman, Joy Lane, told WJW-TV in Cleveland that she last talked with Stephens on Saturday night, when he told her he had quit his job and was moving out of state.

Investigators said that Godwin was the only victim so far linked to Stephens, despite his claim on Facebook that he killed over a dozen people.

Detectives spoke with the suspect on Sunday by cellphone and tried to persuade him to surrender, police said. Within a day, authorities expanded the search nationwide and offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to his capture.

R.I.P. Valentino Stewart – Shot 15 Times in Front of his Brother in Kensington


KENSINGTON (WTXF) – A devastating start to the week for a Kensington family after a man was shot dead on his own front step.

Family members say Valentino Stewart was the victim. Police say the 34-year-old husband and father was shot 15 times with several of those gunshots to his face. According to relatives, he was outside the house with his brother at the time when two men walked up and fired away. His brother was not hurt.

The family did not want their faces shown out of fear but tell us Valentino witnessed a shooting a couple of days ago at Kensington and Allegheny. They wonder if that lead to his violent death.

“I’m very heart broken. He’s my first cousin. He was a good person. He didn’t do nothing wrong.”

KENSINGTON (WPVI) — The man shot 15 times and killed early Monday in the Kensington section of Philadelphia was a husband and father, his family tells Action News.

Officers were called to the 600 block of East Clementine Street at 5:45 a.m. after reports of a shooting in the neighborhood.

“I just heard gunshots as I was waking up the kids to go to school,” neighbor Danny Santos told us.

Philadelphia police say the victim and his brother were outside of their home when two men ran up and shot the victim 15 times, five times in the head alone.

Numerous evidence markers at the scene showed where each shell casing fell.

Police placed the victim in a patrol car and rushed him to Temple University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

His brother was not injured.

Family members tell Action News the victim was a father and husband in his 30s.

“Somebody really wanted to hurt my son for nothing,” said his mother, Yvette Stewart. “Whoever did that to my son, I hope that they come forward. Because I’m (telling) you,
karma do not play.”

Action News is told investigators were looking for two men seen fleeing the scene on foot toward E Street.

There was no immediate word on a possible motive for the deadly shooting.

The murder was the latest in a string of violent incidents involving guns in Philadelphia stretching back to the start of the Easter weekend. The latest police report says there were 27 people shot in Philadelphia in 21 separate incidents since 2 a m. Friday morning until Monday afternoon.

Teen found Guilty of Homicide for the Death of 16 year old Amy Joyner-Francis


A Delaware judge on Thursday convicted a 17-year-old girl of criminally negligent homicide after a school bathroom fight that left a 16-year-old classmate dead.
Family Court Judge Robert Coonin delivered his ruling after hearing a week of testimony in the nonjury trial for three teenage girls charged in the death of Amy Joyner-Francis. All three were 16 when the fight happened and were tried as juveniles.

Two of the girls were charged with misdemeanor conspiracy. The judge acquitted one and convicted the other, saying there was evidence that she kicked Joyner-Francis during the fight.
Sentencing is set for May 23.
The families of Joyner-Francis and the girl who was acquitted left the courthouse without commenting.
An autopsy found that Joyner-Francis died of sudden cardiac death, aggravated by physical and emotional stress from the April 2016 fight at Howard High School of Technology in Wilmington.

Her assailant was charged with criminally negligent homicide for her role in the fight, which was captured on cellphone video.
Defense attorneys argued that the death of Joyner-Francis, who had a rare heart condition undetected by her doctors, was unforeseeable. They also suggested that she was a willing participant in a fight between “mutual combatants.”

Prosecutors argued Joyner-Francis was not looking for a fight but trying to avoid one, and that she would not have died had she not been assaulted.
“Distress, the unexpected nature of the attack, the brute ferocity of it raining upon her, all led to Amy’s death,” deputy attorney general Sean Lugg said during closing arguments this week, adding that the alleged assailant showed “a level of barbarism that reasonably would result in the outcome.”
Attorney John Deckers, representing the girl charged with homicide, argued that she shouldn’t be held culpable for Joyner-Francis’ death because a reasonable person would expect the consequence of a school fight “is not death, but rather discipline.”
All three girls charged in the case opted not to testify.
NBC10 and the Associated Press are not naming them because they are minors.
Coonin ruled last year that the girl charged with homicide would be tried as a juvenile. Had she been tried and convicted as an adult, the girl would have faced up to eight years in prison. Being declared delinquent, she would be subject to supervision until age 19.
Dr. Richard Ringel, a pediatric cardiologist and professor at Johns Hopkins University, testified that Joyner-Francis suffered from Eisenmenger syndrome, an extremely rare condition for someone her age in which a heart defect combines with severe pulmonary hypertension.
While Ringel did not dispute the autopsy results, he said there was no way of knowing that Joyner-Francis was at risk of sudden death, any more than a person could predict that an athlete who appears healthy and fit one day suddenly collapses and dies on the playing field the next day.
Prosecutors said that in an online group chat the day before the attack, Joyner-Francis offered advice to one of her friends about a problem involving a boy, telling her friend to “just be careful.” A detective testified that the defendants were later brought into the chat, and that the alleged attacker thought Joyner-Francis – who had warned that someone might betray another person – was talking about her.
A Snapchat posting by one of the defendants that same day shows Joyner-Francis talking to her alleged assailant in the bathroom, purportedly to try to defuse the situation. The posting notes that the girl later charged with homicide was “bouta fight her,” followed by several emojis indicating that a person was laughing so hard she was crying.