Authorities credited multiple tips from the public with helping them locate and arrest suspect in a deadly carjacking at an Atlantic City casino parking lot.
Phillip Byrd, 20, was arrested Tuesday evening at his home in Camden. At a brief state Superior Court appearance Wednesday in Mays Landing, he was ordered held on $1 million bail on murder and other charges.
Atlantic County Prosecutor Theodore Housel said multiple law enforcement agencies including his office took Byrd into custody without incident.
"The public stepped up on this one from all over," he said. "It made all the difference in the world."
Housel said a stolen car that was connected to Byrd and two other suspects was found abandoned in another part of Camden.
Authorities claim Byrd, Eric Darden and Raheem Simmons stalked potential victims at two casinos — Bally-s and ACH, formerly known as the Atlantic City Hilton — before targeting 28-year-old Sunil Rattu and 24-year-old Radha Ghetia at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort garage on Sunday morning.
Rattu died from two gunshot wounds to the head. Ghetia is recovering from a gunshot wound.
The other suspects remain at large.
In addition to murder, Byrd is charged with felony murder (a killing that takes place during the commission of another felony); possession of a weapon; carjacking; kidnapping; theft; and robbery.
Byrd, who was not represented by a lawyer during the three-minute hearing, spoke only three words during it. He answered "yeah" three times when asked if he had been given a copy of the charges against him, whether he wanted a lawyer and whether he can afford to pay for one.
Authorities said the three suspects accosted the couple in the casino garage, robbed them of a small amount of cash, forced them into their vehicle at gunpoint and drove to an alleyway nearby where both were shot.