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Cops eye robbery as motive in Thanksgiving slaying

Christmas lights sparkled Monday on Almond Street, illuminating the block on a silent, chilly night in Port Richmond.

But Ryan Kelly's house was dark, closed to the world.

Kelly, 21, was gunned down early Thanksgiving Day during what investigators believe was a botched robbery, Homicide Capt. James Clark said yesterday.

An unidentified gunman approached Kelly as he was walking toward his house near the corner of Venango Street just after 5 a.m., police said. The two argued, and a shot was fired, hitting Kelly in the left side of his chest.

He collapsed on the sidewalk not far from his front door, his killer speeding away in a white SUV that had been parked nearby, Clark said.

Officers arrived moments later and took him to Temple University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 5:30 a.m., according to police.

Investigators didn't release any further description of the shooter or the getaway vehicle.

Kelly was the 251st homicide victim this year in the city, and the only one slain during an otherwise peaceful holiday weekend, police said.

No one answered the door at his home last night. A stuffed elephant, a memorial left by a well-wisher, sat between the poles of the fence surrounding its front yard.

Tipsters should call 215-686-8477.