A North Philadelphia man accused of driving the car involved in the July shooting of a Philadelphia Housing Authority carpenter was held Wednesday for trial on murder charges.
Jamaal Simmons, 26, was arrested in Upstate New York six weeks after the July 25 shooting, which killed Rodney Barnes, 46, of Elkins Park.
Barnes, a father of four and a minister at Mount Airy Church of God in Christ, was unloading tools from a truck at the Raymond Rosen Manor housing complex at 24th and Norris Streets when a bullet hit him in the back of his head. He died Aug. 5.
Although Simmons was held for trial by Municipal Judge David C. Shuter on murder, assault, and firearms charges, the gunman remains unidentified. The Metropolitan Regional Council of Carpenters posted a $10,000 reward for the gunman's arrest.
Assistant District Attorney Beth McCaffery declined to comment on the status of Simmons' alleged accomplice.
She said witnesses had identified Simmons as the driver who parked near 23d and Norris about 2 p.m. July 25.
A gunman got out of the vehicle, walked toward 24th Street, and fired at a man who purportedly had been involved in a street dispute. Instead, McCaffery said, the shot hit Barnes.
Barnes, who was working with a weatherization and maintenance crew, had been a PHA employee for just six months.
Simmons was arrested Sept. 1 when police in Whitehall, N.Y., stopped a minivan for speeding. A crime computer check showed that Simmons was wanted in the Philadelphia murder and that the van's driver, Kaream Bundy, 32, also of Philadelphia, was wanted for a parole violation.
Bundy is in a state prison in Schuylkill County.