"DJ Fenicx" stopped by Tavern 222 on South Street on Friday night, chatting with patrons and coworkers at the bar and restaurant where he worked several nights a week as cook and deejay.
It was a 45-minute pit stop about 8:30 p.m.; he was en route to a music gig at the Copabanana at 40th and Spruce Streets in West Philadelphia.
He was his happy, joking self, said Edgar Goldman, 39, also a cook at Tavern 222, who in an interview Saturday remembered what turned out to be his final visit with his friend.
Hours after that pit stop, and just a few doors away, police said, two men rushed the deejay from behind in an apparent attempt to rob him as he unloaded gear into his apartment after a friend dropped him off Saturday about 3:30 a.m.
He was shot several times and pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
Police identified him Sunday as Tom Watson, 36.
Friends and coworkers said he lived in an apartment above the Haagen-Dazs ice cream parlor in the 200 block of South Street.
He deejayed under the name "DJ Fenicx," friends said.
Watson's friend had driven him home and helped him unload his gear in the doorway of the store. To gain access to his upstairs apartment, the victim had a key that allowed him to cut through the ice cream parlor, police said.
As the friend walked back to his car, he noticed the equipment still in the doorway and went back to check if everything was all right, police said.
One of the attackers blocked him at the doorway of the store, telling him to "Get the [expletive] out of here," police sources said.
The friend then heard shots from inside. When the attackers ran off, police said, he found the victim behind the counter.
As South Street began bustling after dawn Saturday, pockets of grief were visible: shocked neighbors stopping by Tavern 222, flowers in the door of the closed Haagen-Dazs, friends gathering around the corner at one of Watson's favorite bars.
As the news spread, the bartender at the nearby O'Neals Pub said he was asked to open the bar at 9 a.m. to provide a gathering space for Watson's friends.
Streaming in, friends were greeted with hugs, handshakes, and the same sentiment: shock at the killing of Watson, a beloved deejay well-known in the area for his music and his easygoing manner.
"He was the best dude, like nobody else. He had the biggest heart, he would do anything for you," one friend said.
Another friend jumped in: "And he worked the tables like no one else, dude."
"He was an incredible musician, really an artist. The most positive . . . mild-mannered man ever," said the second friend, who declined to identify himself. "He was hoping to teach people how to deejay . . . and for free, not charge anything. He's just a giving soul."
Police were collecting surveillance footage from nearby stores on South Street early Saturday. One resident who lives on nearby South American Street said his home security camera captured clear shots of a man police believe is one of the fleeing suspects.
The resident, who asked not to be identified, said the video, which he has given to police, shows a bearded man in a gray hoodie sweatshirt and camo shorts running south on American Street.
The suspect, described as a black man of medium build, was pulling off a pair of gloves as he ran, the resident said.
Police said they recovered the gloves and sweatshirt farther down on American Street.
Shocked neighbors stood behind the yellow crime tape Saturday morning as crime-scene investigators lifted the victim's body into a medical examiner's van.
Early-morning dog walkers stopped to look.
Larkin Connolly, 64, of American Street, shook his head as the van drove off. This killing was the latest in a spate of shootings in the South Street area in the last two years, he noted.
Not two weeks ago, a neighborhood pharmacist was robbed and shot near Fourth and Pine Streets, Connolly said.
Last July, Michael G. Hagan Jr., 32, an information-technology consultant, was shot and killed during a late-night robbery at Fourth and Lombard Streets.
That killing remains unsolved.
Police say Hagan's slaying is unrelated to the 2011 attempted robbery and shooting at Fourth and Pine Street that left a 46-year-old man paralyzed. That shooting also remains unsolved.
The brazen violence has left neighbors shaken, Connolly said.
Even at 3:30 a.m., South Street is well-lighted and still busy with taxi cabs and late-night buses, Connolly said.
"This emphasizes how much crime has gotten out of control," Connolly said. "You obviously don't feel safe."
Anyone with information should call the Homicide Unit at 215-686-3334.