A 55-year-old woman who was the 500th person to be killed in Philadelphia this year was fatally shot by her estranged husband, officials said, another example of what authorities say is a troubling spike in domestic homicides and gun violence targeting women.
Eloise Harmon, 55, was shot five times in South Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon, police said, as she ran away screaming for someone to call 911. She died at Jefferson University Hospital.
Police on Friday arrested Harmon’s estranged husband, Jeffrey Craddock, 63, who faces murder and illegal weapons charges. Authorities said he was taken into custody after briefly barricading himself in a home on the 500 block of Gross Street.
Samirah Thompson, the daughter of Harmon and Craddock, said she obtained a protection-from-abuse order against her father in October after an incident in their South Philadelphia rowhome. Thompson said she was injured by shattered glass after Craddock broke a window and was acting aggressively toward her mother during a fight.
“You’re a monster,” Thompson said of her father, unable to say his name. “You showed your true colors. You took my best friend from me.”
Chesley Lightsey, chief of the homicide and nonfatal shootings unit in the District Attorney’s Office, confirmed that Harmon’s death was a result of domestic violence and that a member of the family had recently obtained a protection-from-abuse order against Craddock.
Police did not immediately respond to questions about the October incident. Court records don’t show charges filed against Craddock in connection with that episode. He is being held without bail at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility on the murder charge in Harmon’s death. No attorney for him was listed in court records.
The homicide was one of several high-profile domestic killings amid the Thanksgiving holiday and a spike in gun violence against women in the city this year. In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, women’s advocates warned of the potential for increased incidents of domestic violence as more people spent time inside.
Police statistics show violence against women continued to rise even after the lockdowns lifted. In 2020, about 6% of fatal gunshot victims were women — in 2021, the number rose to 11%. The 49 women and girls who were fatally shot this year ranged in age from 15 to 67, police statistics show. Three-quarters of those females were Black, another example of how the surge in gun violence has disproportionately affected communities of color.
Last week, authorities filed murder charges against Donavan Crawford, 28, who police say fatally shot his ex-girlfriend, 24-year-old Sykea Patton, on Nov. 19 as she was walking outside with her young twins. Joanne Pescatore, assistant supervisor of the homicide and nonfatal shootings unit in the District Attorney’s Office, said Patton was in the process of obtaining a stay-away order against Crawford.
Police are also continuing to investigate the fatal shooting of Jessica Covington, 32, who was seven months pregnant and shot in the head and stomach on Nov. 20 after leaving her baby shower. She and the unborn child died shortly after the shooting.
Lightsey said that no one has been arrested in connection with the killing and that “no one has been ruled out as a suspect at this point.”
Staff writer Dylan Purcell contributed to this article.