Two teenagers, 18 years old each, have been charged for the killings of two bystanders in the South Street mass shooting that left three people dead and 11 others injured over the weekend, District Attorney Larry Krasner said Thursday.
Quadir Dukes-Hill is charged with murdering 24-year-old Alexis Quinn, while Nahjee Whittington is charged with murdering 22-year-old Kris Minners, Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore said. At the time of the shooting, Whittington was four days shy of turning 18 years old, she said.
Dukes-Hill, of Drexel Hill in Delaware County, and Whittington, of Philadelphia, are friends and fled together to Virginia, where they were caught Thursday, Pescatore said. The pair will be extradited to Philadelphia, she said. The DA's office said both men would be held without bail.
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The shooting was sparked after a fight among three men who fired at each other, authorities have said. Dukes-Hill and Whittington were down the street and opened fire despite not knowing the initial three men, Pescatore said.
"It does not appear that these groups knew each other. This to me seems to be that Mr. Whittington and Mr. Dukes-Hill, in response to gun shots that were happening down the street, just took out their gun and randomly fired. And unfortunately Alexis Quinn was hit by a shot fired by Mr. Dukes-Hill and Mr. Minners was hit by a shot fired by Mr. Whittington," the ADA said.
Two other people are already in custody in connection to the original fight and shootout that preceded the gunfire by Whittington and Dukes-Hill. Police Chief Inspector Ben Naish said Thursday that it is now believed that all shooters in the incident are in custody.
Rashaan Vereen, 34, was arrested Monday around 7:30 p.m. near his home on Hemberger Street in South Philadelphia. Vereen and his friend, 34-year-old Gregory Jackson, were walking along the 400 block of South Street on Saturday around 11:30 p.m. when they walked by another man, Micah Towns.
Investigators said words were exchanged between the men. Jackson and Vereen then attacked Towns in a confrontation that was caught on video, according to officials.
Jackson, who had a permit to carry, then pulled out a gun and shot Towns, investigators said.
Towns, who also has a permit to carry, pulled out his own weapon and fired back at Jackson and Vereen as they ran away. Jackson was shot at least once and fell to the ground while Vereen stayed with him.
At the same time as the shootout occurred, police said Quran Garner, a friend of Towns, was walking a half a block away near the intersection of South and American streets. Garner allegedly pulled out his own weapon and fired toward Jackson and Vereen. Garner then turned and aimed at a police officer, investigators said. That officer then returned fire several times, striking Garner.
Garner dropped his gun and then ran down American Street, shouting, “He shot my hand off! He shot my hand off,” investigators said. He was taken into custody a short time later when he turned himself into police officers a few blocks away.
He was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of aggravated assault on law enforcement officers. On Tuesday, his bail was set at $2 million.
Vereen stayed with Jackson after the shooting and told responding officers he was his friend, officials said. Vereen is charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, conspiracy, violation of the uniforms firearms act, possession of an instrument of crime, tampering of evidence and obstruction of justice. He is being held on $350,000 on Tuesday, court dockets showed.
Jackson died from his injuries while Towns was taken to Penn Presbyterian Hospital, where he is still in critical condition.
Investigators have not yet determined a motive for the initial fight between Jackson, Vereen and Towns. They revealed during a press conference that Towns, like Vereen, is also involved in boxing though they were unsure if that played a role in Saturday's altercation.
The District Attorney's Office said Towns acted in self-defense when he shot and killed Jackson and will not face charges. However, during a press conference on Wednesday, Mayor Jim Kenney said he wants to see Towns face some sort of punishment.
"Even though it was determined that he was in self-defense or whatever, there was violence going on there, there was fists flying, there was all kinds of stuff going on and he set off, along with those other guys, a chain of events that killed two innocent people," Kenney said.
South Street Mass Shooting
The officer who fired at the unidentified gunman who escaped is a three-and-a-half year veteran with the 18th District. He was placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of an investigation from Internal Affairs. It's unclear at this time whether that officer is the same one who shot Garner.
Eleven people, including Towns and Garner, were wounded by the dozens of rounds of bullets sprayed into a massive crowd gathered near 2nd and 3rd streets in the area popular for its bars, restaurants and nightclubs.
The 11 shooting victims who survived were a 17-year-old boy; two 18-year-old men; two 20-year-old men; three men aged 23, 43 and 69; two 17-year-old girls; and a 19-year-old woman. Their medical conditions ranged from stable to critical, Commissioner Outlaw said.
At least four guns were found at the scene, including Garner's weapon, which investigators said was a ghost gun with an extended magazine.
"Obviously, this is a great city. And it's a great city where we are choosing not to simply submit to fear and stop living," Krasner said Thursday. "But I fully understand that when an incident like this occurs, when we have this repeated level of extreme violence that is going on with or without guns, that it has an impact on the entire city. It is traumatizing for the entire city."
There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.