A 23-year-old woman was killed by stray bullets outside her North Philadelphia home Tuesday night after putting her 3-year-old daughter to bed, neighbors, friends, and police said Thursday.
In addition, a 54-year-old man was wounded in the crossfire on the 2500 block of North Ninth Street — a dispute between two groups firing semiautomatic handguns and a revolver as residents hung out outside, Homicide Capt. Jason Smith said.
The woman who died, Crystal Roman-Benitez, “was just standing in front of her residence” when she was shot about 9:24 p.m., Smith said.
Roman-Benitez was struck in the head and arm, police said. She was taken to Temple University Hospital and pronounced dead at 9:46.
Neighbors and friends remembered her Thursday morning as kind, thoughtful, and a dedicated mother to her daughter. Before the shooting, friends said, the two had been outside until Roman-Benitez decided to put her daughter to bed. Shots rang out after Roman-Benitez returned outside to continue socializing, they said.
“She was just a friendly person,” said Maria Negron, 33, a longtime friend. “She would give.”
Negron, of Juniata, was among the people visiting Roman-Benitez’s home Thursday morning. In front of the house, green and blue balloons were tied to railings on the front steps, and a memorial of candles and photos was placed on the sidewalk.
Roman-Benitez’s mother was also there but was too distraught to speak about her daughter’s death.
Smith said the killing marked the 34th time this year that a woman had been slain in the city. In the last three years, Smith said, the number of female homicide victims has been steadily rising, but investigators “don’t particularly know why.”
Smith said investigators found evidence of shots being fired at Ninth and Huntingdon Streets and around the corner at Eighth and Cumberland Streets.
The 54-year-old man suffered a graze wound to his right shoulder, police said. He was taken to Temple University Hospital’s Episcopal Campus and was in stable condition, police said.
Two women who live on Ninth Street, who declined to give their names to a reporter, said they were shaken that bullets would fly while people who had nothing to do with any dispute were outside.