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Suspect In July 3rd Mass Shooting In Philly Killed 1st Victim 2 Days Prior, Changing Timeline

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA — A devastating mass shooting in Kingsessing, Philadelphia, on July 3rd, claimed four lives, with an earlier murder being attributed to the same suspect, altering the sequence of events significantly. The initial victim, Joseph Wamah Jr., 31, was killed on July 2nd, almost two days before the suspect embarked on a fatal shooting spree, which has created fresh doubts about the suspect’s actions and the circumstances leading up to the incident.

Authorities reported that a 911 call about gunshots on Wamah’s block was mistakenly directed to North 56th Street instead of South 56th Street on July 2nd, resulting in no evidence of a shooting being discovered.

The subsequent mass shooting on July 3rd, beginning around 8:30 p.m., unfolded along South 56th Street near Chester and Springfield Avenues in Kingsessing, Southwest Philadelphia. The suspect allegedly targeted vehicles and pedestrians while wearing body armor and a ski mask, armed with a rifle and handgun.

Seven individuals were injured across various blocks, with five losing their lives, including Da’Juan Brown, 15; Lashyd Merritt, 20; Ralph Moralis, 59; Dymir Stanton, 29; and Wamah. Two young boys aged 2 and 13 were shot in the legs but survived. The suspect was later arrested on South Frazier Street.

The tragic incident is considered Philadelphia’s deadliest shooting in over 20 years. Police originally identified Wamah as the suspect’s first victim, but later confirmed that Wamah was killed nearly two days prior to the mass shooting. The suspect’s motive behind the killings, which appear random, remains unclear.

Authorities revisited the shooting incident on July 2nd, following reports by Wamah’s neighbors, Zahirah Muhammad and Keisha Carter, who claimed to have heard gunshots around 12:30 a.m. They believed the shooting had occurred in Wamah’s home, where he lived with his father. Despite calling the police, no officers arrived at the scene.

Carter and Muhammad reported hearing additional gunfire on July 3rd, the evening before Independence Day. Wamah’s father found his son with gunshot wounds after the shooting had ended. Witnesses described Wamah as a polite, reserved individual, creating a sense of loss and fear in the neighborhood following the events.

Witnesses suggested the suspect exhibited unusual behavior before the shooting, including shouting, religious references, and frequently wearing a bulletproof vest and holding firearms. The suspect now faces charges including five counts of murder, five counts of attempted murder, and other related offenses. He is currently being held without bail, and the investigation continues as per a statement from District Attorney Larry Krasner.

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