A Fight, a Call and a Dare: FDR Park Shooting Victim's Friends Urged Gunman to Shoot, Police Say

The victim is the son of PPD Chief Inspector Christopher Flacco, who heads the department's Internal Affairs Unit

What to Know

  • Nicholas Flacco, 20, died after being shot in the chest inside FDR Park on Saturday. Police said his friends dared the gunman to shoot.
  • Police say the gunman may have been summoned to the park by a woman who got into a fight with another group of girls.
  • A $36,000 reward is being offered in the case. Flacco's killing was one of five homicides this weekend.

Even after a man walked up to a group of tailgaters inside FDR Park Saturday night and fired a shot into the air, Nicholas Flacco's friends still didn't think he had a real gun.

Two of the friends confronted the gunman and dared him to shoot them, police said.

The man fired another round from his revolver into the ground. But the group still wasn't fazed as the man stormed off inside the South Philadelphia park.

Ten minutes later, however, they'd be certain that the man's gun was real. Police said he walked back to the group, pointed at Flacco's chest and opened fire. 

Flacco, the son of a high-ranking Philadelphia Police commander, was dead by the time he reached Penn Presbyterian Medical Center in a police car. He was a day into his 20th year, having just celebrated his birthday.

Police said they are bewildered by the dare and why the group chose to stay in the park after two shots were fired.

"I think this is a matter of intoxication by alcohol, because who in their right mind would dare someone to shoot them," Philadelphia Police Homicide Capt. Jason Smith said at a news briefing on Monday.

Police said the group had tailgated during Saturday's Phillies-Braves game. They started in the Jetro parking lot before moving across Broad Street to FDR Park.

"I don't have any reports or indications to believe that Flacco was involved in an argument or altercation with this individual prior to the [shooting,]" Smith said.

Investigators are unsure who the gunman is and why he got involved.

Prior to the gunman's arrival, two groups of girls got into a fight inside the park. Smith described the encounter as "random" and said it ended with one woman threatening "to call her man" before adding that "they should be afraid."

The gunman arrived in a car a short-time later and had the verbal exchange with Flacco's friends. 

Detectives have interviewed some of Flacco's friends, but are still searching for the woman who made the threat. Smith asked that she come in to be interviewed. She could face charges, he added.

As for the gunman, there is a scarce description of him. Police could only say that he was wearing a hoodie.

The shooting was one of five homicides in Philadelphia over the weekend bringing the total number of homicide victims to 80 in 2019.

Flacco is the son of Chief Inspector Christopher Flacco, who heads the department's Internal Affairs Division. A student at Penn State's main campus in State College, he was visiting home to celebrate his 20th birthday.

A $36,000 reward is being offered in the case. The FOP is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. The Philadelphia Firefighters & Paramedics Union Local 22 is offering $5,000. And a local attorney has added another $1,000.

The city offers a $20,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in every homicide case.

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