Fifth Man Inside Apartment During Piazza Murders

Police looking for suspects and Gilmore's alleged business partner

By Karen Araiza and Vince Lattanzio
|  Wednesday, Jul 1, 2009  |  Updated 7:11 AM EDT
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Fifth Man Inside Apartment During Piazza Murders

The Navona/Piazza at Schmidt's

Rian Thal and Timothy Gilmore seconds before they were gunned down on the seventh floor of the Navona apartment complex. They were ambushed after getting off the elevator.

advertisement

As Rian Thal and Timothy Gilmore met an untimely death in the hallway of the Navona Saturday night, Gilmore's alleged business partner sat inside Rian's apartment a few feet away, listening to the murders take place, according to investigators.

Police are looking for this fifth man, the one who walked out of the apartment after the shootings, past the gruesome scene and calmly got on the elevator with a duffle bag thrown over his shoulder.

They do not know his identity, but believe he and Gilmore are connected to the drugs police say they found in Thal's apartment. Investigators also think the two are tied to a tractor-trailer they confiscated near the trendy complex which is part of the Piazza at Schmidt's in Northern Liberties.

Police released surveillance video of Rian Thal and Timothy Gilmore, seconds before they were murdered. The video shows the two getting off an elevator on the seventh floor of the complex. They both look around as if they hear something and then continue down the hallway. Four seconds later, two men come out of the stairwell door right by the elevator. Another shooter was at the other side of the hallway, said police.

"They're trapped because they have another shooter at the other end of the hallway, so it was very well organized," said Capt. James Clark with the Philadelphia police. "Some words were exchanged and at that point, she was shot and killed," said Clark. Gilmore was shot several times and tried to make his way back to the elevator before he died. The suspects calmly left the building and are still on the run.

A second part of the surveillance video shows how the gunmen got into the complex. One follows a tenant in and later lets in two other gunmen. Here is an edited version of what police say happened:

Rian Thal was buried Tuesday. Family and friends reflecting on her life.

"Someone has to know something," friend Jade Connelly said. "Somebody knows something, just step up to the plate and turn these people in." But that may not happen, as Thal herself refused to give police the names of drug dealers who kidnapped and robbed her back in 2004, police sources told the Daily News. That elevated her "from hanger-on to one of the players" in the local drug scene, a law-enforcement source told the paper.

Thal, 34, an event planner and promoter known as "the white girl" in the hip-hop nightlife scene, became a big-time dealer with a specialty powder cocaine she supplied to other dealers, sources told the paper.

"Mistakes were made," Connelly said. "We all had a past, I had a past…she learned the hard way." 

Get the latest headlines sent to your inbox!
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Leave Comments
What's New
FlyeredUp: Win 2 Tickets to Flyers Playoff Game
Win two tickets to the first 2014... Read more
Follow Us
Sign up to receive news and updates that matter to you.
Send Us Your Story Tips
Check Out