Murder charges were upheld for two men accused of killing two bystanders during a shooting that left three dead and 11 wounded along Philadelphia’s South Street in June.
A judge ruled Wednesday to uphold the first-degree murder charges for Quadir Dukes-Hill and Nahjee Whittington, both 18 years old. Dukes-Hill is charged with killing 24-year-old Alexis Quinn, while Whittington is charged with killing 22-year-old Kris Minners.
The shooting was sparked after a fight among three men – Gregory Jackson, Micah Towns and Rashaan Vereen – two of whom fired at each other, authorities said. Jackson, 34, died after being shot, but investigators say he was the first to open fire and that his killer –Towns – acted in self-defense.
Authorities said Jackson and Vareen approached and attacked Towns on the 400 block of South Street. Jackson shot Towns, who then took out his own gun and mortally wounded Jackson, authorities said. Both had a permit to carry a gun. Towns was not charged in Jackson’s killing.
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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 was arrested and charged with aggravated assault. Aggravated assault charges against Garner related to the police officer were dropped, but the aggravated assault charges related to bystanders were upheld, the DA’s office said Wednesday.
Dukes-Hill and Whittington were down the street and “randomly fired” despite not knowing any of the men involved in the original fracas, Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore said in June. Their bullets killed Quinn and Minners, 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 gunshots 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.
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.
There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.