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4 killed in Philly overnight, including young man on bike

Police are investigating four killings in Philadelphia since Wednesday evening, including the shooting death of a young man on a bicycle who was slain in an apparent struggle over a backpack.

The homicides, which all involved guns and occurred across the city, are not thought to be connected.

In the most recent killing, a 22-year-old man on a bicycle was shot in the back on the 800 block of Watkins Street in South Philadelphia about 4:15 a.m.

Officers received a report of gunfire and arrived to find a man in the street suffering from a gunshot wound to his back. He was taken to Jefferson University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:36 a.m., said Chief Inspector Scott Small.

A friend of the victim told detectives they were on bicycles when a man on a bicycle approached them.  The man got off the bike and tried to take the victim's backpack, police said. The two struggled, and the suspect pulled out a handgun and fired three shots, one of which hit the victim.

The victim's friend was unharmed.

Small said the shooter left his bike at the scene and fled east on foot. He was last seen on the 700 block of Watkins Street.

It wasn't immediately known whether the men knew the attacker. Police didn't identify the victim this morning.

The suspect is described as a man in his 20s, wearing a dark-colored hooded sweatshirt and dark pants, and carrying the victim's dark-colored backpack. Police had no other details about the suspect this morning.

Sandra Lopes has lived on 8th Street at Watkins for more than five years.  As she watched police collect evidence at the scene this morning, she wondered about what happened.

"Who was the guy?" she asked, saying she had been shocked when her brother, who heard the gunshots, told her about the incident.

She said such violence was unusual in the area, which is filled with rowhouses and a small bakery, Chinese restaurant and a salon.

"In front of my house, no," she said of violent crimes.

The shooting was fourth slaying in the city since Wednesday evening, and brought Philadelphia's homicide total for the year to 183. Through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, 181 people had been killed, down from 256 during the same time period in 2012.

At about 12:19 a.m., a 36-year-old man was shot on the 2900 block of North Taney Street in North Philadelphia, police said.

He was taken to Temple University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 1 a.m.

No description of the shooter was available, and the man's name was not released.

Philadelphia police this morning identified two men fatally shot in the city Wednesday evening.

Police said 20-year-old Justin Anthony Carter was shot on the 2500 block of Emerald Street shortly after 9:30 p.m. He died at a hospital about 20 minutes later.

And 26-year-old Raheem Williams was identified as the victim of a killing on the 5600 block of Beaumont Avenue in Kingsessing. He was shot at 7:18 p.m. and pronounced dead at 7:44 p.m., police said.

No arrests were made in either death.