It's been a rough year at the Queen Lane Apartments, a Philadelphia Housing Authority high-rise in Germantown.
In February, a PHA cop was shot in the security booth. In June, a pregnant woman was shot and killed there.
And late Christmas night two young men went down in a hail of bullets on the sidewalk outside the project, the chicken fingers and cheese fries they'd purchased still warm in their bags. Both died at the scene.
Police identified the victims as Rashim Shuler, 30, who lived in the project, and Christopher Gullop, 24, whose mailing address was nearby on Morris Street near Coulter, but who family members said had been living at a South Philadelphia halfway house.
A friend of Gullop (whose name is spelled Gullap by friends, family and in some public records) said that he had called her from his cell phone moments before his death to say that he was being followed by four men from the Hung Hing Chinese and American Take Out restaurant, just a block west of the crime scene on Queen Lane.
The friend, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Gullop, known in the neighborhood as "Omar," had seen three other men approaching him from the opposite direction and feared that he was being trapped by the two groups.
Soon after the call, Gullop and Shuler were shot multiple times in the head and torso.
Police Sgt. William Gallagher said that shell casings recovered at the scene were from more than one type of firearm, making it clear that there were at least two assailants.
Police said that they hadn't determined a motive for the murders. Gallagher said that there appeared to have been an argument between the two men and that it's "possible" that the crime was drug-related.
Gullop's friend said that she didn't believe that he he had been involved in drug activity and didn't think that the shooting had anything to do with an argument with his friend.
Both Gullop and Shuler had been arrested and jailed on drug-related charges in the past.
Gullop's family said that he had served five years (on drug and weapons charges, records show) but that he had turned his life around and was training to become an electrician at the Orleans Technical Institute.
Family and friends described Gullop as a practicing Muslim who was known for acts of generosity.
A makeshift memorial had appeared at the scene of the shootings yesterday, with several teddy bears perched atop a four-foot concrete wall and notes of affection scrawled below.
Meanwhile, several neighbors said that they were troubled by the violence and drug dealing that they associate with the housing project.
"I'm leaving," said one frustrated neighbor who, like others, declined to be identified. "I hope to be out of here within a month."