King of Prussia

$5K Reward Offered for Suspect in Pregnant Woman's Killing Near KOP Mall

'This was a chilling murder of a young woman and her unborn child,' Montgomery County District Kevin Steele said Monday

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A mother gunned down at a gas station near the King of Prussia Mall over the weekend was pregnant when she was killed, the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office said.

Philadelphia's Rafiq Thompson, 38, allegedly killed 31-year-old Tamara Cornelius while she was pumping gas at an Exxon station on the 100 block of North Gulph Road Friday night, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release last week.

On Monday, District Attorney Kevin Steele revealed that an autopsy performed in Chester County revealed that Cornelius's cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds and her manner of death was homicide. The autopsy also found that Cornelius was pregnant when she was killed.

"This was a chilling murder of a young woman and her unborn child," Steele said. "We will be filing an additional homicide charge against the defendant—Murder of an Unborn Child."

Prosecutors already announced that Thompson would face first-degree murder, illegal possession of a gun and related charges.

Detectives determined that Thompson and Cornelius had a previous relationship and met up briefly around 9:11 p.m. before Cornelius went inside The Cheesecake Factory restaurant to eat dinner, the DA’s office said.

Cornelius left the restaurant a little over an hour later and was followed by Thompson as she drove to the gas station, prosecutors said. As Cornelius pumped gas, Thompson spoke with her and then opened fire, the DA’s office said. A police affidavit said witnesses heard a brief argument before shots were fired.

Rafiq Thompson

He continued to shoot her as she tried to run away, the DA’s office added. Cornelius was declared dead at Paoli Hospital at 11:09 p.m., 47 minutes after police officers first responded to the gas station and found her bleeding, prosecutors said.

Thompson remained on the run Monday. The DA's office announced a $5,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

Thompson, who lives on North 47th Street in Philadelphia, should be considered armed and dangerous, the Montgomery County DA’s office said. He’s described as standing 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighing around 167 pounds. Anyone who spots him is asked to immediately call 911.

Prosecutors are treating the killing as a case of domestic violence, since the suspect and victim dated before, Montgomery County District Attorney's office spokeswoman Kate Delano said.

Cornelius' family said she was a mother of three.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), visiting or texting LOVEIS to 22522.

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