The day after her brother was fatally shot while out walking his dog, Jelena Loncar sat outside her Brewerytown home Thursday, crying and still in disbelief while holding and petting the dachshund-Chihuahua mix, Roo.
“He was the kindest person in the entire world. This is so screwed up,” she said of her brother, a Temple University graduate.
Milan Loncar, 25, was shot just before 7 p.m. Wednesday on Jefferson Street near 31st about a block from his Brewerytown home when he was approached by two males during an apparent robbery, police said. One male pointed a handgun at the victim and then both started reaching toward his pants pockets before the victim is shot once in his chest, police said. They then ran south on 31st. Police on Thursday night released a video compilation showing the two assailants.
Loncar, who lived on the 1400 block of North Corlies Street, was pronounced dead half an hour later at Temple University Hospital.
Homicide detectives were in the neighborhood Thursday searching for more surveillance video. Police have not reported any arrests.
“He’s selfless, constantly smiling. ... He’s so charismatic and kind,” said Jelena Loncar, 27, who lived a few blocks away from her brother but is now planning to move out of the city.
They grew up in Wayne and went to Conestoga High School. Loncar, an engineering major, graduated from Temple in 2019 and was working for Whiting-Turner, a construction management company, his family said.
“Our college grieves for a life cut short in such a senseless manner,” Keya Sadeghipour, dean of Temple’s College of Engineering, said in a statement.
Loncar’s house keys and cell phone were left at the scene of the shooting, and his wallet was found in his house, according to family members.
“I don’t know if he was targeted. I don’t know if they were going to rob anyone,” Jelena Loncar said. “If he’s walking his dog, why would he have a ton of cash on him? I don’t get it.”
Their mother, Amy Lounsberry, described being “just devastated” Thursday during a tearful phone interview.
“A beloved sweet boy just starting his life,” she said. With his girlfriend planning to move in with him soon and a job where he worked for about a year, “everything was coming together for him,” she said.
Jelena Loncar recalled driving home Wednesday night after having dinner with her mother when she learned from an app alert about someone being shot in Brewerytown. Her roommate, Arshiya Luthra, 26, then went to the scene.
The roommate described Loncar to police. They asked her, “Did he have a little dog?” Luthra recalled. That’s when she realized it was Loncar who had been shot. Officers brought Roo to her from a police car.
At 31st and Jefferson on Thursday, an uncle of the victim, Nikola Loncar, 66, of Malvern, looked at the bloodstains on the sidewalk and a chalk circle indicating where a shell casing had apparently been found. Someone had placed a lit candle nearby.
“He was very polite. I don’t think he would ever fight anybody,” the uncle said.
Amy Lounsberry shared a text message she had sent Thursday morning to a family member: “I keep wishing for the real world rewind button. ... Just this once.”
On Friday night, family members and friends held a vigil at the corner where Loncar was shot.
Anyone with details about the shooting should contact the homicide unit at 215-686-3334 or the police tip line at 215-686-TIPS (8477) or email firstname.lastname@example.org. As with any homicide, there is a $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
On GoFundMe, a Milan Loncar’s Reward Fund was set up Friday to help raise further reward money to incentivize someone to contact police with information. As of Saturday morning, it has raised more than $36,000.
Update: This story was updated Saturday, Jan. 16, to include the vigil and the GoFundMe reward.
Staff writer Chris Palmer contributed to this article.