Stephanie Long held back the tears as she talked about her daughter’s death.
“It was so senseless,” the 50-year-old woman said. “So pointless. So unnecessary.”
On Sunday, around 10:35 p.m., Stephanie and her 26-year-old daughter Amber Long were walking along the 900 block of Front Street in the Northern Liberties section of the city. The two had attended a jewelry party together and had just gotten off the train.
As they walked towards their car, parked at Front and Poplar Streets, they were suddenly approached by two men. One of the men snatched Stephanie’s purse and fled on foot, according to investigators. Police say the second man then tried to snatch Amber’s purse. Amber resisted however, leading to a struggle with the suspect. Police say the man then pulled out a gun and fired it once, striking Amber in the chest. He then fled the scene.
Amber was taken to Hahnemann Hospital where she died around 11:15 p.m.
“Maybe in hanging onto her purse, she saw their face,” said Stephanie. “But if they hadn’t shot her there wouldn’t have been a crime. They didn’t get her purse.”
The investigation of the case was delayed after officials received a phony tip call. Police say 44-year-old Lamar Beatty of East Germantown falsely identified two men as the suspects.
After taking them in for questioning and searching their home, police determined that the men had nothing to do with the crime. They then arrested Beatty and charged him with falsifying reports to police.
Despite the false tip, sources tell NBC10 that the investigation never lost momentum. Detectives gathered new surveillance video of the crime from several businesses along Front Street and Girard Avenue. They’re now looking for sharper images of the shooter and his partner as well as their getaway car, described as a dark-colored Sedan.
Amber graduated from Philadelphia University in 2011 with a degree in Architecture. She was working for U.S. Construction Inc. in Center City prior to her loss.
“Amazing artist,” recalled Gene Foscini, a family friend. "Her work was unbelievable. And she was just a good kid, you know. “
Amber’s mother agrees.
“It’s impossible to convey what a rising star this city lost,” Stephanie said. “She loved this city.”
Officials with Philadelphia University are working on setting up a scholarship in Amber’s name. Meanwhile, police continue to search for the suspects and say the new surveillance video will be released on Thursday.
The city is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to arrests and convictions in this case. Anyone with information can contact Philadelphia Police at 215-686-3334 or x3335.