The Tale of Two Rians - NBC 10 Philadelphia

The Tale of Two Rians

Police say a fifth man was inside Thal's condo at the time of the shooting



    The Tale of Two Rians
    Rian Thal was an event planner and promoter, a well-known "party girl" in the city's nightclub and hip-hop scene.

    Friends from the club scene call Rian Thal a big party girl who was close with rappers, athletes and drug dealers, but family and friends from her hometown say that's not the girl they knew.

    Thal and Timothy Gilmore, a male friend from Ohio, were gunned down inside the trendy Navona apartment complex where she lived in Northern Liberties Saturday evening. Authorities called the shooting "well organized" and believe the victims were targeted.

    Newly released surveillance video from inside the apartment building show the last moments of the victim's lives. The two step off the elevator at the 7th floor and begin to walk down the hallway, but stop and look back at a stairway door -- as if they heard something -- before continuing down the hallway. Then two men bust out of the stairwell door and follow the victims.

    A third man was waiting at the other end of the hallway, essentially trapping Thal and Gilmore, police said. There were also two other men involved -- a lookout who can be seen letting the shooters into the building and a man who was apparently inside Thal's condo.

    Police Have Surveillance Video of Shootings

    [PHI] Police Have Surveillance Video of Shootings
    Friends of the young woman console one another. Police say security cameras recorded the shootings.
    (Published Sunday, June 28, 2009)

    The fifth man left the apartment with a duffel bag, which may have contained more drugs, police said.

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    "She was not unfamiliar with drugs, money and rappers," one investigator told the Daily News. "She might have been questioned a lot of times."

    Four kilos of cocaine and more than $100,000 were found inside Thal's apartment, according to investigators. "Whether it was hers, I don't have any idea," Homicide Lt. Philip Riehl told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

    Thal was sentenced to probation in 2001 for a drug charge in Delaware County. "She was a nice girl, and she was just troubled with this drug problem," said defense attorney A. Charles Peruto Jr.,  who represented her in the Delco case. "I thought that she had put all this behind her," Peruto told the Inky.

    "Obviously, she was targeted for what she was involved in and not where she lived," a police source told the Daily News. The Navona is part of the sprawling Piazza at Schmidt's, NoLib's new retail, living and entertainment complex.

    "What we're seeing today on television – that's not the Rian I know," best friend Aimee Fox told NBC10's Deanna Durante.

    On her MySpace page, friends are posting condolences and there are a ton of pictures from a big birthday bash at Plush in April. Some of Rian's friends got together Sunday at the Piazza. "She was a very sweet girl. I've known her for years. She's worked in the industry -- the restaurant and hospitality industry -- for a long time, and had a lot of friends," fellow promoter Thomas Updegrove told the Inquirer.

    "She was so much more," Fox said. "She was a wonderful daughter and she has a family that is devastated and adores her." Funeral services for Thal are set for Tuesday.

    Police are asking for the public's help in identifying the four men involved in the shooting. Anyone with information is asked to call 215.686.3334.