A collaborative anti-violence initiative between local and federal authorities helped thwart a murder-for-hire plot in Philadelphia, officials announced Monday.
Darnell Jackson, also known as “Major Change,” 47, of Philadelphia, was arrested and charged with murder-for-hire and possession of ammunition by a convicted felon.
On July 19, Jackson contacted another person in order to arrange the killing of an intended victim, police said. Jackson allegedly sent a photo of the intended victim and indicated he was willing to pay $5,000 for someone to commit the murder. Police also said Jackson mentioned that he was interested in locating the close friends of the intended victim so that they could be harmed as well.
Once Jackson’s contact told him that he had located the intended victim, they agreed that the murder would take place on the night of July 21, investigators said.
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That same night, the contact told Jackson that the intended victim had been killed, which was false, police said. Jackson allegedly told the contact he would meet him in order to pay for his services.
A few minutes later, Jackson was stopped by police while driving along 65th Street and Guyer Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia. Police said Jackson was in possession of a Glock-style “ghost gun” loaded with 16 live rounds of ammunition. They also said he didn’t have $5,000 in his possession despite telling his contact he’d pay him that amount.
Jackson was arrested and appeared in federal court on July 23. He is scheduled for a detention hearing on August 3.
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During a press conference, officials credited Philadelphia Police, the FBI and the Safe Streets Gang Task Force with thwarting the attempted murder as part of their collaborative “All Hands on Deck Initiative.”
“It is no stretch of the imagination to conclude that law enforcement thwarted multiple alleged attempted murders by the defendant last week,” Jennifer Williams, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, said. “But there are hundreds of families in this city for whom this news means very little, because their loved ones were already gunned down this year.”
With 315 homicides as of Sunday night, Philadelphia is on pace to have its deadliest year on record.
City leaders, including councilmember Jamie Gauthier (3rd District) have called for Mayor Jim Kenney to declare a citywide emergency due to the gun violence crisis.
Kenney wrote a letter to Gauthier stating he doesn’t plan on declaring one because it would have no impact in strengthening his administration’s current anti-violence efforts.
Those efforts include allocating over $150 million to gun violence prevention in the recently approved 2022 budget, weekly meetings with Philadelphia police and other agencies to help find solutions and participating in a national initiative made up of 15 cities across the country to collaborate on violence intervention strategies.
There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.