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Cops seek links in late-night violence

Police yesterday were probing for ties between a fatal burglary and another shooting Tuesday night.

JOE WHITE was engrossed in the Flyers game Tuesday night when he heard the gunshots.

"Four of them, in a row, from across the street," he said yesterday in the doorway to his home. "I ran to the window, but I couldn't see anything.

"Next thing I know, cop cars were coming from all sides."

Those shots came from the house across the street from White's, on Wyndale Avenue near 58th Street, a quiet, residential block in Overbrook. They were fired during an apparent burglary, one of them killing a crook inside, and another wounding a 22-year-old man who lives there, according to police.

Last night, new information from investigators indicated a possible link between that incident and another shooting an hour later.

The victim in the Overbrook burglary told police that he and his girlfriend came home to a group of at least four burglars about 10 p.m., and that he was shot in the leg during a struggle with them, Chief Inspector Scott Small said.

Another man, believed to be a burglar, was also found inside the house with a gunshot wound to his head and was pronounced dead at the scene.

After undergoing treatment at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, the 22-year-old told police his attackers fled in a white Chevrolet van, Small said.

A vehicle matching that description was involved in another shooting about 8 miles away, in Fern Rock, according to police.

Two 17-year-old girls told police that three men got out of a white van on Chew Avenue near 10th Street and started shooting at them, said Officer Leeloni Palmiero, a police spokeswoman. The girls were uninjured, and the punks fled the scene.

Not long after that, police were called to Camac Street near Chew Avenue - about five blocks from where the girls were - where they found a 31-year-old man shot in his buttocks, Palmiero said.

A witness at that scene also mentioned seeing a white van, and one matching that description was later stopped by police at Wayne Avenue and Clarissa Street in Nicetown.

The girls later identified the van's 42-year-old driver and the 31-year-old shooting victim as two of the men who had shot at them, Palmiero said.

Those men, whose identities were being withheld by police, were arrested. They were being questioned by Homicide Unit detectives last night in connection to the Overbrook incident, Palmiero said.

Back on Wyndale Avenue, White wasn't surprised to hear about the commotion: He said a group of young men moved into that home about a month ago, and that police had been called to the property three times since they arrived.

A police source confirmed that officers had been dispatched to the home recently, responding to another burglary targeting the new tenants.

What was being sought in the break-ins isn't clear. The police source said that although police recovered two semiautomatic handguns apparently used in Tuesday's incident, there was no sign of drug paraphernalia in the home.

Charges were pending last night for the two men arrested in Nicetown as police continued their investigation.