Three Abraham Lincoln High School students have been arrested and charged as adults in the beating death of a man in Northeast Philadelphia's Holmesburg section a week ago.
The three arrested teens were identified as Brandon Conrad, 14, of the 4600 block of Oakmont Street; Malik Page, 16, of the 4700 block of Oakmont Street; and Emmanuel Harris, 17, of the 4400 block of Shelmire Street, all in Holmesburg. A fourth person was present during the attack but won't be charged, according to Homicide Capt. Jack Ryan, who declined to elaborate on that person's involvement.
The three students from the Mayfair school face murder and robbery charges in the attack, which left Kevin Cullen, 57, dead. At a news conference outside police headquarters Monday afternoon, Ryan said Cullen died from a blow to the head.
Cullen was well-known and well-liked in the neighborhood, but was not homeless, contrary to earlier reports, Ryan said.
"I wouldn't characterize him as homeless; he was definitely bouncing from place to place, living with different people all the time," he said. "He was definitely well-known in the neighborhood. Frankly, we didn't encounter any neighbors that had a bad thing to say about the man."
At 5:55 p.m. Nov. 26, police responded to reports of a robbery in progress on the 4200 block of Loring Street. They found Cullen unconscious, his pockets turned inside out, indicating that robbery was the motive. But nothing was taken from him, Ryan said.
He was brought to Aria Torresdale Hospital, where he died the next morning.
Police officers assigned to Lincoln High and juvenile probation officers helped detectives piece together the investigation.
The killing traumatized the neighborhood. A witness said she could hear the victim's head hitting a brick wall, and police reported that the assailants laughed as they left the scene.
Ryan said that police are investigating the boys' possible connection to other assaults reported in the area. In one such case, a teenager from the same friend group is under arrest, he said.
Ryan lamented the senselessness of Cullen's death.
"Committing robbery is not the answer for boredom," he said. "It shouldn't be your rite of passage. It can have tragic consequences. This man died as a result of it and these three young men are going to jail for some time."