A young Philadelphia architect was shot to death in front of her mother late last night while the two walked from the train to their car in one of Philadelphia’s trendy neighborhoods.
Amber Long, 26, and her mother, 50, were walking along the 900 block of Front Street in the Northern Liberties section of the city when they were ambushed by two robbers.
"One of the males snatched the mother's purse from off of her shoulder and fled on foot. The second male, who was attempting to snatch the purse from the daughter, during the struggle, pulled out a gun and fired it one time, striking her in the chest," said Captain James Clark who heads up the homicide division.
Officers rushed Long to Hahnemann Hospital where she died around 11:15 p.m.
"It's very sad. It was very random," Clark said.
Long and her mother had just gotten off a train at Front Street and Spring Garden Street and were walking northbound on Front Street toward their car, parked at Front and Poplar Streets.
"I believe these males saw them and thought they were easy targets," Clark said.
Police questioned two men who Clark said fit the descriptions of the robbers. Tips from the community led police to a home in the Olney section of the city, where they found both men.
Late in the afternoon, investigators came back to the home with a search warrant.
"We believe the gun and possibly the purse is inside the property, but obviously we won't know that until we get inside," Clark said.
On Tuesday however, the men of interest were released. Police determined that they had nothing to do with the crime and that they acted on a false tip call. Police say 44-year-old Lamar Beatty made the original tip call. He was arrested and charged with falsifying reports to police.
According to friends, Long and her mother had been at a jewelry party together last night before the shooting happened, around 10:30 p.m.
Long, an architect who lived on W. Ritner Street in South Philadelphia, resisted giving up her purse, Clark said.
"As he's attempting to pull her purse off of her shoulder, she's, you know, giving a little bit of a struggle. He pulls out a gun and fires at point blank range. He does not get her purse. They then flee into this waiting vehicle and take off," Clark said.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Long graduated from Philadelphia University in 2011 with a degree in Architecture. She was working for U.S. Construction Inc. in Center City.
"Amazing artist," recalled Gene Foscini, a family friend. "Her work was unbelievable. And she was just a good kid, you know. We got along so great."
Investigators are canvassing the neighborhood to find surveillance video that could provide more evidence.
"When we have senseless crimes like this take place there's just no reasoning behind it, absolutely none," said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.
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.