A 15-year-old Chester boy was charged as an adult Friday with two counts of murder after investigators say he shot two men at point-blank range during a robbery earlier this month.
Namai “Pop” Melvin faces first-, second-, and third-degree murder, robbery, conspiracy, and related charges, according to court records. He remained in custody Friday at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility, denied bail due to the nature of the charges.
Investigators say Melvin opened fire on Rasheen Jones, 20, and Kwann Henderson, 19, with a .40-caliber handgun as he sat in the backseat of a car the men were riding in Feb. 1, killing them both, according to the affidavit of probable cause for Melvin’s arrest.
Jones and Henderson, both of Philadelphia, were found shot multiple times inside a Chevrolet Impala that had crashed on Third Street near Lamokin in Chester, police said. Jones was pronounced dead at the scene, and Henderson died a short time later at Crozer-Chester Medical Center.
Jones was an up-and-coming rapper known as Run Up Rico and had signed a recording contract with Epic Records.
District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said Friday that the shooting was a “tragedy on all fronts.”
“This epitomizes the truly senseless violence that exists on our streets today,” he said. “I must commend the hard work of the law enforcement officers involved with this case; however, as proud as I am of their work, my heart breaks for the families of the victims — and the entire Chester community.”
Melvin and another, unidentified suspect attacked the victims in an attempt to rob them of a large package of marijuana they were carrying inside their vehicle, the affidavit said. The two suspects were recorded on surveillance footage meeting with the young men shortly before the shooting, and accompanied Jones into a convenience store.
As the group left the store, Melvin got into the car’s backseat, as the unidentified suspect stood outside, speaking with Jones, the driver, according to the affidavit. At one point, that suspect raised his arm and started firing at Jones, who sped away with Melvin still inside the vehicle.
Not long after, the vehicle crashed nearby, and Melvin is seen on surveillance footage getting out of the car carrying a large package of marijuana, the affidavit said.
Two witnesses identified Melvin from that surveillance footage, police said. Additionally, a Chester police officer who investigates organized crime told county detectives that Melvin is active in the Highland Gardens gang, and has been the subject of multiple gun and drug investigations, according to the affidavit.
On Friday morning, Melvin reported to an appointment with his probation officer in an unrelated case, law enforcement sources said. During that meeting, he was arrested and charged in the double homicide case.