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2018 Philly’s final, bloody weekend: 3 slain, 15 more shot

The incidents brought the city’s 2018 homicide total to 351 through Sunday night -- 12 percent higher than in 2017 and about 42 percent higher than 2013.

A bystander watches police investigate and clean up after a shooting in North Philadelphia on 10th Street near French left three people dead Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018. MARGO REED / Staff Photographer
A bystander watches police investigate and clean up after a shooting in North Philadelphia on 10th Street near French left three people dead Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018. MARGO REED / Staff PhotographerRead more

Three people were killed and at least 15 others were shot and wounded over the weekend in Philadelphia, according to police, capping a year in which the city recorded more homicides than in any other year since 2007.

The three killings brought the city’s 2018 homicide total to 351 through Sunday night, according to police statistics — 12 percent higher than in 2017 and about 43 percent higher than 2013, when the city recorded 246 homicides, the lowest year-end total since the 1960s.

Four of the 12 shootings over the weekend left multiple victims wounded, police said, including a triple shooting Sunday night in Franklinville that left two 19-year-old men in critical condition. As of Thursday, nearly 1,400 people had been shot in the city in 2018, police statistics show — about 12 percent more than in 2017.

Authorities have said the spike in homicides in 2018 appears at least partially driven by an uptick in drug-related slayings. As of Sunday, police statistics show, drugs were listed as the primary motive in 130 homicides during the year, nearly double the 66 drug-related killings in 2017.

Commissioner Richard Ross and District Attorney Larry Krasner both said in December that drug-related homicides appeared to be the outlier when examining the 2018 spike in killings. Oddly, the escalation in killings and shootings came as the city’s overall violent crime tally — which counts homicides, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults — was poised to decline for the third consecutive year.

The murder rate in the nation’s 30 largest cities was expected to decline in 2018, according to an analysis by the nonprofit Brennan Center for Justice. The analysis credited declines of at least 18 percent in Chicago and San Francisco with contributing to the drop. Other cities — including Houston; Indianapolis; and Washington, D.C. — were expected to have increases greater than Philadelphia’s, the analysis said.

Mayor Jim Kenney has called on his cabinet to deliver a violence-prevention plan by Saturday, and asked that it be viewed as a public health document and not simply a law enforcement report.

Last week, police announced a shake-up atop the Homicide Unit, saying that Capt. Jason Smith, previously of the Major Crimes Unit, would be named commanding officer of homicide. The staffing change came as the Homicide Unit, for the second consecutive year, was poised to record a clearance rate — the percentage of cases considered “cleared” by arrest or other means — below 50 percent.

Police reported an arrest in one of the weekend’s three homicides — a fatal stabbing following an argument Friday night in Mayfair — but released no further details Monday.

Four people were shot Friday night, according to police, including 26-year-old Esa Abdullah of West Mount Airy. Officers found him with a gunshot wound to the head about 8:44 p.m. on the 100 block of West Widener Place in East Germantown, police said. He was taken to Einstein Medical Center and pronounced dead at 12:01 a.m. Sunday.

Also on Friday, about 10:58 p.m. officers responded to the 2100 block of Lardner Street and found 40-year-old Robert Hicks of Northeast Philadelphia dead from a stab wound to the neck, police said. On Saturday, police reported that officers at 6300 Eastwood Street found the alleged offenders, a 24-year-old man and two women, and that the man had stabbed Hicks after an argument. Police said Monday that an arrest was made but did not give details.

On Saturday, six people were shot, police said, including Duane Hicks, 25, of Oxford Circle. Hicks was dropped off at Jefferson Frankford Hospital at 5:33 p.m. with gunshot wounds, police said. He was declared dead at 6:09 p.m. Investigators believe the shooting happened on the 2000 block of Womrath Street in East Frankford.

The two victims named Hicks were not related, police said.

Seven people were shot Sunday, according to police, including three 19-year-old men wounded around 10:35 p.m. on the 600 block of West Erie Avenue in Franklinville. Two were listed in critical condition at Temple University Hospital, police said. As is standard in nonfatal shootings, police did not identify any of the victims.

Two other men, ages 23 and 27, were injured hours earlier, about 1:30 a.m. Sunday, in a double shooting at Wissahickon and Midvale Avenues in Germantown, police said.

Police said they arrested a suspect in one of the nonfatal shootings over the weekend: a 31-year-old man who allegedly shot a 28-year-old man about 6:27 a.m. Saturday on the 1400 block of McKinley Street in Oxford Circle.