A South Philadelphia man concocted a tale about being abducted from SugarHouse Casino to cover up having been shot during a drug deal gone bad in Southwest Philadelphia, police said Monday.
Around 11:30 p.m. Sunday, Second District patrol officers found the wounded 38-year-old man lying along Summerdale Avenue behind Northeast High School.
Bleeding from gunshot wounds to his neck, legs, and buttocks, the man told police he had been abducted, bound, and shot after leaving the casino along Delaware Avenue, police said Sunday night.
Police now say the man, who remains in critical but stable condition, was never at the casino, but instead was attacked and abducted while buying or selling cocaine at 49th Street and Springfield Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia.
"We know for a fact this has nothing to do with SugarHouse," said Lt. John Walker of Southwest Detectives, who is handling the case.
From the start, investigators doubted the man's story about having been at the casino, Walker said. First, the man said he had been attacked while heading home with winnings, but he was found miles from his South Philadelphia home, Walker said.
Detectives also checked with the casino and determined that the victim's player's club card had not been used Sunday, Walker said.
The episode developed around 10 p.m. when police received a report of gunshots along Springfield Avenue.
Witnesses told police they heard gunshots and then saw the victim drive his late-model Cadillac into a pole while being followed by men in a gold Chrysler Concord.
Already wounded, the victim fled his car, only to be chased down by the men from the gold car. The assailants then threw the victim into a waiting white van that had the name of a cleaning company on it, Walker said.
The van and gold car sped off, Walker said, but police were able to quickly stop the gold car.
Officers arrested four men in the car, and they are being questioned, Walker said, adding that police also recovered a .380-caliber handgun, ammunition, and cocaine from the vehicle.
All of the men arrested and the victim are known to police, Walker said. No one has been charged yet, Walker said, because investigators have not yet been able to talk to the victim. He remains in the intensive care unit at Aria Health Torresdale hospital.
Police believe the attackers in the white van bound the victim's ankles and arms with duct tape and drove him around the city for more than an hour before shooting him twice more and dumping him behind the high school.
Investigators recovered ballistic evidence at both scenes, Walker said. They also recovered live rounds in the victim's car, he said.
The van was found torched near 47th and Melon Streets in West Philadelphia, he said.
Tipsters may call Southwest Detectives at 215-686-3013.