Law enforcement authorities Wednesday announced the arrests of eight people in a South Philadelphia gang-related turf war that killed a 17-year-old boy and injured five other people in three shootings in 2017 and 2018. Two men face murder charges; six other suspects face charges of attempted murder.
A ninth suspect is a fugitive and is expected to be charged with attempted murder, police said.
The arrests were announced by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross at a news conference at the Delaware Valley Intelligence Center, a regional hub in South Philadelphia for sharing law enforcement information.
A grand jury investigation, led by a joint city and state Gun Violence Task Force, stemmed from two December 2017 shootings involving two South Philadelphia gangs — one based around 27th and Tasker Streets, the other around 31st and Tasker, authorities said.
Shapiro said the “two rival groups,” which identify themselves based on their turf — 27th Street vs. 31st Street — have fought over “petty slights, posts on social media, and generational grudges.”
Attorney General’s Office agents and Philadelphia police arrested the eight people early Wednesday morning, Shapiro said.
Two men, Khalid Harrison, 22, and Mujihad Deen, 20, face charges of murder, conspiracy, and gun offenses in the Dec. 19, 2017, shooting that fatally wounded Nasir Livingston, 17, who was inside the Twin Dragon Chinese takeout at 27th and Dickinson Streets when he was shot once in the head. One of two masked gunmen fired the bullet, which went through the corner takeout’s glass door.
Livingston, a junior at South Philadelphia High School, died three days later at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. Police said he was connected with the 27th Street group, while the alleged assailants were connected to the 31st Street group.
“In retaliation for his murder,” Shapiro said, two young men “were strategically lured” from their South Philadelphia neighborhood on Dec. 27, 2017, to a residential block near Hunting Park and Allegheny Avenues in North Philadelphia by two young women, Markesha Hines-Washington and Alexis Hodge, “through a sophisticated social-media-based plan.”
The two men, who weren’t identified by authorities, were in a car on North 30th Street, near Clementine, when a masked gunman shot and wounded both of them, according to the grand jury presentment.
Police Chief Inspector Joel Dales said after the news conference that the women were with the 27th Street group, while the two men in the car were aligned with 31st Street. He said that shooting was also part of the broader turf war between the two South Philadelphia gangs.
In addition to Hines-Washington, 22, and Hodge, 21, three men — Nasir Evans, 20; Montez Burke, 22; and Galvison Morris, 21 — were arrested Wednesday in connection with this shooting. A sixth person, Ameen Waltower, is also a suspect in that shooting but is a fugitive, Dales said.
The six face charges of attempted murder, conspiracy, and related offenses.
Apart from the grand jury investigation, authorities said Nyseem Smith, 21, was arrested early Wednesday and faces charges of attempted murder and related offenses for an August 2018 triple shooting on the 1500 block of Marston Street in South Philadelphia, where three young men affiliated with the 27th Street group were shot and wounded.
Shapiro said Smith, of the 31st Street group, “is directly or indirectly responsible” for much of the “carnage” in that South Philadelphia neighborhood.