What to Know
- Two men are suspected in the shooting death of a 2-year-old girl inside her Kensington neighborhood home.
- Freddie Perez, 30, of Chester, Pennsylvania, is charged with murder and attempted murder in connection to the death of Nikolette Rivera.
- Tavon Thomas is the suspected of pulling the trigger and is expected to be formally charged.
The alleged gunman arrested for shooting 11-month-old Yazeem Jenkins in North Philadelphia last weekend may have supplied the AK-47 used in a separate shooting of 2-year-old Nikolette Rivera, Philadelphia police said Friday.
Francisco Ortiz, 29, was taken into police custody Thursday and will be charged with attempted murder for shooting Jenkins, police said.
He is also a “prime suspect” in a Sept. 18 homicide in Northeast Philadelphia, officials announced Friday. That shooting was not drug related but instead a domestic dispute, according to police.
Investigators believe Ortiz, who has 17 prior arrests, allegedly supplied Freddie Perez and Tavon Thomas with the gun used to kill Rivera in Kensington Sunday afternoon.
All three men have extensive criminal records, police said.
Ortiz was released in January after serving 10 years in prison, according to Anthony Voci, chief of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office homicide unit.
He was arrested again on gun charges and released on bail before allegedly supplying the gun to Perez and Thomas used to kill Rivera.
Perez and Thomas are charged with murder, attempted murder and related offenses, according to police.
The shootings of Jenkins and Rivera, which took place one day apart, are “horrific demonstrations of how dangerous the drug trade is in the City of Philadelphia,” Voci said.
“Some of the parents of these two children are responsible for the death and severe injuried caused to their children,” he added. “They engaged in narcotics behavior - narcotics transactions, narcotics operations. They put their children in harm’s way.”
Jenkins was struck four times by bullets: once in the head, once in the neck and twice in the buttocks, police said. He is not expected to fully recover from his wounds, a detective told reporters Monday.
Rivera was shot once in the back of the head while her mother was shot once in the right side of the head and once in the back. A contractor working inside the home was also shot in the stomach.
Five minutes before Rivera was shot, there was another shooting about half a mile away. No one was killed, but police found evidence that both a handgun and an AK-47 were used, according to Acting Police Commissioner Christine Coulter.
Mayor Jim Kenney and both showed exasperation over the shootings.
"We had a horrible weekend ... when it comes to violence," Kenney said. "You feel like you’re making progress in this city and this weekend happens and a couple weekends ago, it happened again, and you just feel like you’re losing, losing ground."