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Six Flags Coaster in Frightening NJ Accident to Stay Shut Down Over Safety Concerns

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The Six Flags Great Adventure roller coaster that malfunctioned at the end of a ride at the New Jersey theme park last month, injuring more than a dozen people and hospitalizing five of them, will remain shut down because of structural damage to the support columns that could endanger riders, state community affairs officials said Wednesday.

New Jersey’s Department of Community Affairs (DCA) workers conducted a preliminary field investigation into the Aug. 25 incident involving the El Toro coaster and initially identified the structural column damage. The agency now says those damaged columns structurally compromise the park’s ability to operate the ride in a safe manner.

El Toro will remain closed for an unspecified period of time, DCA said. It will conduct an engineering review as it works to determine the cause of the structural issues, which thus far remains unknown. It is consulting with the manufacturer.

The Aug. 25 fright on El Toro happened around 7:30 p.m. that August night as the ride was ending. Something malfunctioned and more than a dozen injuries of varying severity were reported to the riders.

Last year, the wooden roller coaster was closed when the rear wheels of the car lifted off the track. No one was injured, but the state fined the park $5,000 for not calling ride officials right away.

El Toro, according to the park’s website, is one of the fastest and tallest wooden coasters in the world. The ride reaches speeds of 70 mph and climbs up to 19 stories for one of the steepest drops in the country.

El Toro wooden roller coaster at Great Adventure Park. (Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Philly Is Putting a Standalone Toilet on a Center City Corner. Here's Why

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What to Know

  • Philadelphia will be installing a “Portland Loo” at 15th and Arch streets at some point in 2023.
  • The public restroom installation is part of the city’s plan to erect a total of six standalone toilets in different parts of the city.
  • “Public restrooms are a great way to improve quality of life and protect public health, and like many U.S. cities Philadelphia needs more,” Kathleen Grady, Chief of Staff, Managing Director’s Office – Health and Human Services, said in a statement to NBC10.

Finding a place to go when you have to go isn’t always the easiest thing to do in Philadelphia, especially since the start of the COVID pandemic.

Now, city health and human services leadership is trying to change that by placing so-called “Portland Loo” restrooms in key parts of the city.

“Public restrooms are a great way to improve quality of life and protect public health, and like many U.S. cities Philadelphia needs more,” Kathleen Grady, Chief of Staff, Managing Director’s Office – Health and Human Services, said in a statement to NBC10. “We are excited to install a free-standing public restroom in Center City next year, after receiving valuable input from individuals, businesses, and civic groups.”

Philadelphia’s five-year budget funds six of the public toilets, each in a different neighborhood, as part of a pilot program, according to a Health and Human Services blog post posted on the City’s website last month.

“The goal of the public restroom pilot is to provide a permanent option that is more attractive to a broad group of people – including families, tourists, businesses, and underserved individuals,” the HHS news release said.

The first restroom — these standalone units looks like tall oval-shaped metal pods with open blinds at the top — will be placed in the shadow of City Hall at 15th and Arch streets in Center City at some point in 2023. The site has had temporary porta potties in place for the past year or so, the City said.

“The 15th and Arch location was analyzed to ensure it meets the technical constraints for Portland Loo installation including the size of the space available, ownership of the land, proximity to intersections and the curb, and connections to water, sewage, and electricity utilities,” the news release said.

On its website, Portland Loo says “the proof is in the potty” when it comes to preventing crime, maintenance and ease of installation.

The City explained more so why it chose the Portland Loo:

“The Portland Loo model is known for being durable, easy to clean, and having a crime prevention design features like graffiti-proof wall panels. The unit is ADA accessible, and it can fit a bicycle, a stroller, or two adults and a child.”

Philadelphia’s HHS is open to further public comment as the pilot program continues.

“This pilot will grow in the coming years to establish six public restrooms throughout Philadelphia, complete with safety and maintenance plans and accessible design,” Grady said.

Stinky Situation: Massive Amount of Dead Fish Rotting in NJ Cove

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A stinky situation is affecting a community on New Jersey’s Long Beach Island as a massive amount of dead fish rot in the waters of a cove that’s surrounded by homes.

It’s not the first time dead fish have been floating around this summer in the Harvey Cedars community, but the latest incident in Kinsey Cove is leading to complaints about the scent of rotting fish carcasses wafting through the air.

“Originally, they were sinking to the bottom and that’s how we handled it the first time. Now I believe the smell is pretty bad from what I hear, so I don’t know what our next steps are at this time,” Harvey Cedars Clerk Municipal Clerk Daina Dale said.

Harvey Cedars Police Department Chief Robert Burnaford said he first heard about the latest incident on Tuesday, but it likely started over the weekend, meaning the peanut bunkers have been baking under the sun for a few days now.

NBC10’s SkyForce10 helicopter showed the fish packed close together Wednesday as they floated right in front of some homes and among small boats.

This summer has been unusual, Burnaford said. Since August, dead fish have cropped up in Kinsey Cove five different times, with a sixth occurrence about a mile south in Harvest Cove, according to the chief.

“In my experience, this is the first time this has happened,” Burnaford said, noting he’s been with the police department for 16 years.

The borough has been working with the Long Beach Island Health Department and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in the latest case. An official with the health department declined to comment. NBC10 left a voicemail with the environmental department but did not immediately hear back.

The working hypothesis is that the fish are swimming into the cove and dying because of low oxygen levels, Burnaford said. He cited unusually warm water temperatures as a possible reason for why there’s not enough oxygen.

Dale said the borough doesn’t have the “water capabilities” to remove the fish. Burnaford noted that the Harvey Cedars Public Works Department has removed some fish that have washed up on land, but as for the ones in the water, it’s essentially a waiting game until they sink.

“We understand it is a nuisance and hopefully within a few days it’ll clear itself out,” Burnaford said, adding that, “Hopefully this is a rare occurrence and we don’t experience this again.”

‘Halloween Nights' Brings New Frights at Eastern State Penitentiary

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To scream, or not to scream?

“Halloween Nights” at Eastern State Penitentiary returns this week for another spook-filled season featuring new attractions and old favorites alike.

The annual Halloween festival in Fairmount, formerly known as “Terror Behind the Walls,” opens Friday, Sept. 23 and runs through Nov. 12, a spokesperson said.

The 10-acre abandoned prison which looms over Philly’s Fairmount neighborhood will have live entertainment, a history museum, and five haunted houses.

The three new attractions include two new haunted houses named “Nightmares” and “Big Top Terror,” and a carnival-themed bar called “Bizarre Bar.”

If those don’t sound terrifying enough, don’t worry.

Returning for the first time since the pandemic, visitors will again be able to “opt in” for a scarier experience, which allows the actors to touch and separate them from their group. This is signaled to the actors, or “monsters,” by a glowstick worn around visitors’ necks.

“Opting in has been a fan favorite and a rite of passage for many of our visitors, so we’re thrilled to bring that experience back this year,” Brett Bertolino, Vice President and Director of Operations at Eastern State Penitentiary said.

There will also be live entertainment such as dancers, history tours and museum experiences.

Tickets start at $35 and will be available on their website.

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Watermelon Truck Catches Fire on Delaware Memorial Bridge

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A tractor-trailer carrying watermelons was caught in a pickle Wednesday night. 

The semi-truck caught fire on the I-295 Delaware Memorial Bridge northbound toward New Jersey, with passersby witnessing watermelons strewn on the roadway.

Lane restrictions were put in place during the fire, although it wasn’t clear how many lanes were closed. 

Shortly before 3 a.m., Delaware State Police said the bridge was cleared. 

State police have yet to release further information about the truck blaze.

Canvassing on Crutches: Philly Woman Shot by Stray Bullet Now Back on Her Feet

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Erin Hyers was hit by two stray bullets while driving on the 3100 block of North 22nd Street in Northeast Philadelphia Tuesday night.

“I felt as like acid was being poured on my leg. Using my flashlight, I looked and that’s when I [saw] the blood,” she told NBC10’s Leah Uko. 

By Wednesday, she was out of the hospital and back to serving her community. 

For Hyers, who is canvassing low-income neighborhoods ahead of the midterm elections, it was important to hit the streets again as soon as she could. 

After losing her mom to a year-long ALS battle last week, she attended the viewing just a day after she was shot by the stray bullets.

She also intends to canvass in her mother’s honor now that she’s back on her feet. 

Right now, Hyers says her union’s focus is to get people to vote, as well as help them find quality jobs. It’s an effort that she says could help solve the city’s gun violence crisis.

“Yuu have to have stricter gun laws,” Hyers said. You can’t take away any process for someone to get a gun.”

“This was important to my mom,” Hyers added. “She always raised me on ‘voting is your voice. If you lose your right to vote, you lose your voice.’”

There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.

For all the candidates, issues and important dates that voters should know about in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, go to NBC10’s Decision 2022 page. You’ll find tools to help you navigate the midterm elections, including when to vote and who will be on your ballots in the primaries and November general elections.

Teen Wounded in Shooting in Main Line Neighborhood

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Officials said two teenagers were involved in a shooting that wounded one of them Wednesday in a Main Line neighborhood, with one school district telling parents it may have involved its students.

The shooting in Narberth Borough left one of the teens with a gunshot wound to the eye, a Montgomery County dispatcher told NBC10. The teen was transferred from an urgent care to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for treatment.

The dispatcher did not have details about how the shooting happened or about the ages of the teens. NBC10 reached out to the Narberth Police Department for more information but did not immediately receive a response.

Lower Merion School District Superintendent Khalid Mumin Wednesday evening sent an email to parents, notifying them that “some students may have been involved” in the shooting. “The nature of that involvement remains unclear at this time, as the investigation into the incident is ongoing,” Mumin wrote.

Mumin said the district’s student services team was prepared to help students and directed people to a section on the district website with resources about discussing “difficult topics” with kids.

Newark Won't Be an NYC Airport as of Next Month — And Prices Might Change

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While it may be on the other side of the Hudson River, everyone from the tri-state knows that Newark Liberty International Airport is one of New York City’s three major area airports.

But that technically won’t be the case for much longer.

The International Air Transport Association has introduced a new standard for cities with multiple airports. As of now, Newark, JFK Airport and LaGuardia Airport are all listed under the city code “NYC.” Because of that, many airlines allow travelers to switch flights among the three airports without paying a penalty.

However, starting Oct. 3, that changes. Newark Airport will get its own code (EWR), which means that it will operate under a separate pricing structure from JFK and LaGuardia airports.

As of now, the impact on ticket prices is not clear. However, it does open the door for airlines to potentially start charging customers for switching flights to the NYC airports.


Arrest Made in Hit-and-Run That Injured NJ Girl on Horseback

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Police have arrested a man suspected of being behind the wheel of the pickup truck involved in a hit-and-run crash that left a girl on horseback with broken bones and caused the injured animal to be euthanized.

Joseph Devitis, 51, is charged with assault by auto, leaving the scene of a crash involving serious bodily injury, endangering an injured victim and animal cruelty, Franklin Township Police Department Deputy Chief Matt DeCesari told NBC10 Thursday morning.

Devitis was arrested at his Monroeville home, which is les than a mile and a half from the Sept. 13 crash that left 14-year-old Tatiana Galarza with fractures in her hip and leg, DeCesari said. The crash also broke the horse’s legs, causing it to be euthanized.

Police officers obtained leads Tuesday night about the pickup truck involved in the collision. After obtaining search warrants, officers found the damaged vehicle hidden in the woods of Devitis’ property, the horse’s hair still all over the front end, DeCesari said.

The chief said Devitis cooperated and seemed remorseful for his actions, adding that the suspect may have initially fled because he was coming back from an establishment where he may have been consuming alcohol.

After the arrest, Devitis was released on condition that he show up to a later court date.

Officials said Tatiana was lucky to be alive after the crash. Edgar Galarza, the girl’s brother, told NBC10 that they were riding their horses on the grass next to rural Monroeville Road when they stopped to take a break and the pickup barreled into his sister and her beloved 15-year-old horse.

“The driver was driving an insanely high speed to hit and kill a horse and still be able to drive down the road,” witness Michael Pfommer said. “Think about how fast that truck has to be going.”

NJ School District Rejects State Sex Ed Program After Parents' Uproar

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At least one New Jersey school district is giving the state an “F” when it comes to the new sexual education curriculum and has decided to opt out from teaching the material — despite a warning from state leaders.

The Board of Education for the town of Garwood rejected the 66-page sex ed standards sent by the state back in May, after parents demanded that it be dropped. Some said that the content could traumatize their young children.

“Every single person pushing this sex ed curriculum inclusive of subject matter is a sexual predator in my book and should be in jail,” one parent said to applause during a school board meeting.

According to the state’s Department of Education, the majority of New Jersey’s 600 school districts have adopted the curriculum. Others have modified it, with the looming threat of “disciplinary action” by the state — although it’s still unclear what that would or could mean.

One former third grade teacher said the lesson isn’t one she would want to teach her children.

“Not one of my students needed to learn about sexual education at that age, gender identity. And they certainly didn’t need to learn it from me,” she said during the school board meeting. “It’s not my job as their teacher to explain to them about their genitals or sexual orientation.”

The new curriculum also includes subjects like mental health, peer pressure and bullying. While classes are adapted to every age group, some parents said there are topics that are just too mature no matter how they are taught.

The state included an “opt out” whereby parents would need to fill out a written form explaining why their child should be excused from any particular portion of the health lesson that they objected to. But many parents in the town said they shouldn’t have to opt in to any of it at all.

“My personal opinion is kids are too young to learn about certain things, period. I like to keep my kids as naïve as possible…really the job of teaching kids is the parents’,” said Jose Sardinas, a father of three. “I can see both sides of it, I can think if parents decide something it should be respected, but I understand both sides of the issue.”

The Department of Education did not reply to multiple requests for comment, nor did the superintendent of Garwood schools.

Find Out Why SEPTA Is Closing a Stretch of Girard Avenue for 3 Months

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A trolley track replacement project is shutting down a seven-block stretch of busy Girard Avenue in Philadelphia from the start of October through the end of 2022.

PennDOT revealed the closure plans in a news release Thursday:

“SEPTA is planning to close W. Girard Avenue between 33rd Street and 26th Street in the Brewerytown section of Philadelphia beginning Monday, October 3, for replacement of its Route 15 trolley tracks.”

The stretch of Girard Avenue, which runs from near the edge of Girard College to Fairmount Park, will remain closed through New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31, 2022), PennDOT said.

Drivers will need to use North 33rd Street to West Dauphin Street to Ridge Avenue to access Girard Avenue.

“Motorists are advised to allow extra time when traveling near the work area because backups and delays will occur,” PennDOT said.

SEPTA riders should also expect their commutes to be impacted.

“Most construction work will be during the day, but at times it may continue into early evening hours,” SEPTA said in a news release last month.

Riders of the routes 15, 7, 32, 48 and 49 trolleys should expect posted detours, SEPTA said.

The track replacement is weather dependent, PennDOT said.

AC OKs Law Banning Gas Stations From Pumping Gas for ATVs, Dirt Bikes

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Gas station workers in Atlantic City will face fines for pumping gas directly into dirt bikes and four-wheelers under a new law passed Wednesday.

The ordinance is an effort to crack down on dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles that officials say pose a danger to the public when illegally driven on city streets. It still allows workers, however, to pump gas into the vehicles if they feel threatened, but they must alert police within one hour of the riders leaving.

Workers are also allowed to pump gas into the vehicles if they are being hauled on a legal trailer.

“The whole idea is we just don’t want these motorcycles and ATVs coming to Atlantic City. We’re trying to make it as uncomfortable as possible for them to come to Atlantic City,” Atlantic City Police Department Acting Chief James Sarkos testified before Wednesday night’s vote.

Gas stations that violate the ordinance would face fines of at least $500 dollars. Sarkos said the police department spoke with the owners or managers of the city’s five gas stations and got four of them to sign a declaration saying they support the ordinance. The fifth didn’t sign but gave verbal approval, he said.

Under the bill, the police department will provide signage so that employees who refuse to pump gas can point to them and tell riders that they are banned from pumping by order of the police, Sarkos said.

Councilman Bruce Weekes, one of the two dissenters in the 7-2 vote, expressed concern that the law lacks “teeth.” He pointed out that the law prohibits police officers from chasing dirt bikes and ATVs and noted that it will be difficult for police officers to know whether gas station employees call police after riders leave, both of which Sarkos acknowledged.

However, the chief argued that while the ordinance will not completely stop the problem, it will help.

Council Vice President Kaleem Shabazz, who supported the measure, concurred and said the New Jersey Legislature is crafting legislation that will help give more enforcement “teeth” to a statewide problem. “I think this is a necessary step. It’s not the total answer. It’s a lot of answers that we have to look at, and as we speak the legislation is being worked on,” Shabazz said.

Recent Temple Grad Shot, Killed on Sidewalk Near Drexel Univ.

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A recent Temple University grad from the Philadelphia suburbs was shot and killed just blocks from Drexel University early Thursday, his family said.

The man was identified as Everett Beauregard from Chester County, a statement released by a family attorney said. Police officers found the 23-year-old bleeding heavily from his neck on North 35th Street, near Baring Street, in the Powelton neighborhood around 12:30 a.m., Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said.

Officers rushed Beauregard to the hospital, where he died a short time later, Small said.

Beauregard was a Great Valley High School alum and “recently graduated from Temple University with a Bachelor of Arts degree and was in the process of finalizing plans to begin his MBA in the winter,” the family statement read.

Everett Beauregard
Everett Beauregard

“Everett was always willing to lend a hand to any anyone who needed his attention, love and humor,” the statement said.

He is survived by his parents and sister. The family thanked people for the “outpouring of sympathy” in light of Beauregard’s killing.

Earlier in the day, Drexel spokesman Britt Faulstick confirmed that Beauregard didn’t attend Drexel.

Beauregard was shot in front of an apartment building, three of the gunshots appeared to have been fired from close range, investigators said.

At least one bullet went through a window on the first floor of an apartment, lodging in bathroom wall, Small said. Neither of the sleeping young people who live in that apartment were injured.

The search for the shooter continued Thursday.

Philadelphia has struggled with gun violence throughout 2022. A couple hours earlier, a man was shot during an argument that turned physical on South 20th Street near Rittenhouse Square. And, on Wednesday night, a man was shot and killed and a bar worker injured in a double shooting in Northeast Philadelphia.

Entering Thursday, at least 392 people had been killed in shootings in Philadelphia in 2022, according to Philadelphia police data. That’s on pace with last year, which wound up having the most killings on record in the city.

There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.

Video Shows Sparks Shoot Out From United Flight Just After Takeoff at Newark Airport

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Some frightening moments in the air were captured on video, as a photographer recorded the moment sparks were seen shooting out from the bottom of a United Airlines flight that had just taken off from Newark Airport.

Murtalla Mbacke had just finished his shift as a gate agent at the New Jersey airport on Wednesday when he captured the stunning video. He can be heard shouting as the sparks pour from the bottom and rear of the flight during its ascent.

“I was actually yelling because I was excited and also shocked, like is this really happening?” Mbacke told NBC New York.

United said that the flight to Brazil experienced a mechanical issue, likely a hydraulic pump, which may have caused the sparks, which slowly fell from the sky.

“It almost seemed like paper that was falling, it was that slow,” said Mbacke.

The plane was forced to make an emergency landing, but only after circling over the Atlantic for about 90 minutes to burn fuel.

“That plane was very heavy, so I knew he couldn’t come back and land because it would be an overweight landing,” said Mbacke.

United said that the Boeing 777 with 256 passengers on board landed safely. After the scare, a new plane departed for Brazil Thursday morning.

A Philadelphia Contract Killer Admitted to the Deaths of 6 People, Authorities Say

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A Philadelphia contract killer admitted to the deaths of six people over three years, four of whom he gunned down on orders from a drug trafficker, federal authorities said Wednesday.

Ernest Pressley, 42, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit murder for hire, four counts of use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder for hire and other crimes, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Eastern Pennsylvania said in a news release.

Pressley also admitted to the attempted murder of a woman four years ago, the release said.

Charging documents and court filings detailing the crimes were unsealed Wednesday. Pressley’s guilty plea and conviction carry a mandatory life sentence in prison, the release said.

“By his own admission, Ernest Pressley is an incredibly dangerous individual with no qualms about accepting money to calculatedly and cold-bloodedly murder anyone,” U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Romero said in a statement.

Read the full story here at NBCNews.com.


NJ Casino Smoking Ban Talk Nixed, but AC Casino Workers Get Loud

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What to Know

  • Irate that a session to discuss a proposed smoking ban during a casino industry conference was canceled, casino workers and patrons opposed to smoking in the gambling halls held a noisy protest outside the meeting in New Jersey.
  • About 100 people rallied outside the Hard Rock casino in Atlantic City, demanding that the state Legislature act on a bill to ban casino smoking that has the support of more than half of state lawmakers and Gov. Phil Murphy.
  • The bill has been stalled without a hearing in a state Senate or Assembly committee, and a similar measure died without a vote last year as well.

Irate that a session to discuss a proposed smoking ban during a major casino industry conference was snuffed out, casino workers and patrons opposed to smoking in the gambling halls held a noisy protest outside the meeting Thursday.

About 100 people rallied in the rain underneath a walkway outside the Hard Rock casino, demanding that the state Legislature act on a bill to ban casino smoking that has the support of more than half of state lawmakers and Gov. Phil Murphy.

The bill has been stalled without a hearing in a state Senate or Assembly committee, and a similar measure died without a vote last year as well.

Thursday afternoon, the East Coast Gaming Congress was to have included a panel discussion on casino smoking, an issue that is roiling workers, customers and lawmakers not only in New Jersey but in states including Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and others.

It was scrapped when the casino industry representative, Resorts Casino President Mark Giannantonio, withdrew. He recently became president of the Casino Association of New Jersey, the Atlantic City casinos’ trade association which vehemently opposes a smoking ban.

“The CANJ is running and hiding right now,” said Peter Naccarelli, a Borgata dealer and a leader of a push by casino workers to ban smoking in their workplaces. “They have no logical arguments.”

Lamont White, another Borgata dealer opposed to smoking, said the casino industry’s main argument has always been, “We’d lose money, and money is more important than casino workers lives.”

“That’s all they have to say,” he said.

Giannantonio declined comment on Thursday’s demonstration, referring a reporter to a statement the casino association issued earlier this month in which it said “an immediate smoking ban would have a significant adverse effect on Atlantic City.”

Murphy, the state’s Democratic governor, has promised to sign the bill if it passes. But Legislative leaders have thus far refused to set a hearing date for a committee in either the Senate or Assembly, which has to happen before the bill can move forward.

Murphy addressed Thursday’s conference, but did not mention the proposed ban in any detail.

But during an afternoon session, Eric Hausler, CEO of Greenwood Racing, which owns Pennsylvania’s smoke-free Parx casino, said that policy has been successful.

“So far, so good,” he said.

When reopening in 2020 after the initial wave of the pandemic, Hausler said, Parx decided to remain smoke-free, “for better or worse. If you look at our market share numbers, they’re holding up just fine. We intend to stay that way. Our customers have gotten used to it.”

Philly Home Depot Workers Petition to Form 1st Store-Wide Union

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Home Depot workers in Philadelphia have filed a petition with the federal labor board to form what could be the first store-wide union at the world’s largest home improvement retailer.

The petition, filed with the National Labor Relations Board this week, seeks to form a collective bargaining unit for 274 employees who work in merchandising, specialty and operations. The federal agency’s database shows no other attempts to form a store-wide union at the company, though a group of Home Depot drivers successfully unionized with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in 2019.

Sara Gorman, a Home Depot spokesperson, said the company is aware of the filing and “we look forward to talking to our associates about their concerns.”

“While we will of course work through the NLRB process, we do not believe unionization is the best solution for our associates,” Gorman said in an email.

Vincent Quiles, a store employee who is leading the petition, said he delivered the petition with 103 workers’ signatures to the federal labor board Tuesday.

He said discontent with compensation and working conditions rose as employees felt strained during the pandemic.

Quiles, who makes $19.25 an hour in the receiving department, said he and other workers felt they could have benefited more from the record profits Home Depot made during the pandemic, as demand grew for home improvement projects. He pointed to two bonuses he received last year that amounted to less than $400.

Meanwhile, Quiles said his store felt perpetually understaffed, and employees were routinely asked to work in other departments with little training, sometimes angering customers when they could not provide the expertise expected of them.

“I would see corporate visits. They would say you’re doing a great job, you are so essential. You have to walk the walk. You can’t just come in here and say a bunch of nice things,” Quiles said. “This is a long shot but I think we can do this. This is just the beginning.”

Home Depot, based in Atlanta, employs about 500,000 people at its 2,316 stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Worker discontent has galvanized labor movements at several major companies in the U.S. in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which sparked tensions over sick leave policies, scheduling, safety and other issues.

In a surprise victory, Amazon workers at a Staten Island warehouse voted in favor of unionizing in April, though similar efforts at other warehouses so far have been unsuccessful. At least 238 U.S. Starbucks stores have voted to unionize over the past year, according to the NLRB. Last week, rail workers won key concessions in a tentative agreement with rail companies that averted a potentially devastating shutdown of the nation’s freight trains.

For Years, Philly Police Dumped Crime Data at Disney World

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Shineka Crawford will never forget the day her 18-year-old son Shaquille Barbour was killed.

She was at a family gathering in North Philadelphia last summer, when she learned a gunman shot Shaquille more than a dozen times. Crawford found him bleeding in the street.

“I can’t get that picture out of my head,” Crawford told NBC10 Investigators in an interview. “The pain never goes away, and never gets better.”

But according to Philadelphia Police Department records, Barbour was not shot on the 1700 block of 68th Avenue in West Oak Lane in front of family. The data showed he was killed in Disney World.

For more than a decade, if Philadelphia police officers made a typo or were unable to record a precise location for a crime committed in the city, the department would mark the incident with GPS coordinates inside Disney World in Florida. Specifically, the area behind Cinderella’s Castle known as “Fantasyland” became the default location for inaccurate crime data.

“It’s hurtful. He got murdered on the street in Philadelphia,” Crawford said through tears when she learned of this practice.

In her son Shaquille’s case, instead of logging his homicide as occurring in the 1700 block of 68th Avenue, officers recorded the crime’s location as the 1700 block of North 68th Street. That location doesn’t exist, so in the department’s records, the incident was assigned coordinates for Fantasyland.

The NBC10 Investigators learned that over the past six years, more than 5,000 crimes—including 16 arsons, 50 homicides, and 298 auto thefts—were plotted to Disney World.

No other location within city limits had more recorded Philadelphia crime.

“It conveys the wrong message that a police department doesn’t really care,” said Robert Kane, the director of Drexel University’s Criminology and Justice Studies.

He said that it is not uncommon for police departments to deal with mapping messy or imprecise data.

The Los Angeles Police Department used to plot crimes with bad addresses to its headquarters. The industry standard is to place these crimes at GPS coordinates 0,0 — which is in the Atlantic Ocean.

Kane said it is uncommon to choose a default location like Disney World.

This is a screengrab of Disney World when using the Philadelphia Police Department’s Crime Mapper application at phillypolice.com on July 14, 2022, prior to a change in policy by the department. It showed 799 Philadelphia crimes had been reported at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, during the prior six months, including six homicides, two rapes and 69 aggravated assaults.

“I don’t think you would want your crime, or a crime committed against somebody close to you, kind of minimized by the very agency that’s supposed to be investigating and trying to make it right,” he said.

The Philadelphia Police Department’s director of research and analysis, Kevin Thomas, said he had not heard of the Disney World coordinates policy until NBC10 brought it to his attention.

But after he learned about the practice, he asked others in the department who said the choice to map certain crimes to Disney World was made more than ten years ago.

“In no way was this meant to be in any way humorous,” Thomas said.

The location was chosen intentionally so that bad data would not muddle Philadelphia crime stats, he said.

“It was just an innocuous location chosen within the U.S. that would obviously not have anything to do with Philadelphia whatsoever,” Thomas said.

Thomas asserted this never affected the department’s ability to solve crimes.

He added that only 2% of crimes were mapped in Fantasyland.

Recently, after NBC10 raised the issue, the Philadelphia Police Department changed its policy.

“Thinking through this a little bit further, speaking to some of the leadership at PPD, we made the adjustment,” Thomas said.

The department says it will now plot inaccurate crimes in the Atlantic Ocean. Disney World did not respond to a request for comment.

Girl, 8, Caught in Crossfire as Nearly 50 Shots Fired in North Philly

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An 8-year-old girl came within inches of potentially losing her life when she was caught in the crossfire of a shooting in North Philadelphia Thursday night.

The shooting took place just before 9 p.m. along North 13th Street, near Oxford Street, when a car driving up 13th Street came under gunfire from people in another car who were waiting for them, Philadelphia Police Deputy Commissioner John Stanford said.

Gunmen got out of the first car and waited for the other car to drive up, Stanford said. When the other car approached, they opened fire. The targeted car would crash up the street.

“Unfortunately, there’s an 8-year-old little girl that’s on the other side of the street here who is struck in the head, graze wound,” Stanford said.

A man in his 20s, believed to be in the targeted car, was struck in the leg.

Both were treated at the hospital.

Investigators found that at least 47 shots were fired, Stanford said. One of those stray bullets grazed the girl, who was in front of her home.

Stanford called the shooting, which happened near Temple’s campus, part of a “broken record” of gun violence in the city.

“This could be anybody walking up and down this street,” Stanford said. “This needs to stop, it needs to stop now.”

In a tweet, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw called the shooters “cowards with guns.”

“Stop putting our resident’s – our children’s – lives at risk!” Outlaw wrote.

Police hoped that people would come forward to help them track down the shooters. They also planned to pour over surveillance video to find the five people they believe were involved.

Children make up around 10% of the shooting victims in Philadelphia this year. According to a tally by the city controller’s office, most recently updated Wednesday, at least 185 minors have been shot in Philadelphia in 2022.

There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.

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Man Wanted in 2 Sexual Assaults on SEPTA's Broad Street Line

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Read this story in Spanish here.

Philadelphia police are searching for a man accused of committing two sexual assaults on SEPTA’s Broad Street Line this week.

The assaults happened Monday between 10:30 p.m. and 11:45 p.m. at two locations on the line, the Philadelphia Police Department said. The first attack happened on a train and the second at a station.

The first attack involved a 22-year-old woman who was waiting for the train at City Hall Station. The suspect followed her onto the train and, after she sat down, stood over her and – without saying a word – grabbed her breast, PPD special victims unit Lt. John Hewitt said. The man got off the train as it pulled into the Tasker-Morris Station.

The man waited around at the station and later approached a 40-year-old woman standing on the platform, Hewitt said. He asked her for a cigarette, so she gave him the one she was smoking, after which he asked for a kiss, Hewitt said. The woman declined, but he grabbed her around the waist and began kissing and groping her, according to the lieutenant.

As a train pulled into the station, the man ran off and fled northbound on Broad Street.

Police released surveillance video of the suspect walking around a subway platform. He wore a white hoodie with the band Queen on the back, black shorts with the Underarmour logo on the right thigh and black sneakers.

The PPD said he may be Black or Hispanic, in his early 20s, has a thin build and stands around 5 feet, 7 inches tall.

“It’s very serious and it’s concerning because our concern is always that there’s escalation. This is just an indecent assault incident at this time, but it could easily turn into a violent sexual attack and we want to get this guy off the street as quickly as possible,” Hewitt said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the PPD’s special victims unit at 215-685-3251/3252. People can submit anonymous tips by calling 215-686-TIPS (8477), texting 773847 or emailing tips@phillypolice.com.

Earlier this week, police also announced a search for a man who attacked two teenage girls at SEPTA train stations.

Resources for victims of sexual assault are available through the National Sexual Violence Resources Center and the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-4673.

Nazi Sympathizer Who Stormed the Capitol Sentenced to 4 Years in Jan. 6 Case

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A Jan. 6 rioter who has dressed up as Adolf Hitler and held a security clearance was sentenced to four years in federal prison during a hearing on Thursday.

Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, 32, of New Jersey, who was an Army reservist when he stormed the U.S. Capitol in January 2021, was convicted in May after he failed to convince jurors that he didn’t know that Congress met at the Capitol, a claim he made on the stand to avoid a conviction for obstruction of Congress.

“I know this sounds idiotic, but I’m from New Jersey,” Hale-Cusanelli told jurors when he said he didn’t know Congress met at the Capitol. “I feel like an idiot, it sounds idiotic, and it is.”

For more on this story, go to NBC News.

NJ High School Football Player Dies Weeks After Scary Injury on Field

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A young high school football player in New Jersey has died after an apparent head injury he suffered in a game two weeks ago.

Linden High School sophomore Xavier McClain, a standout player for the Tigers football team, died Wednesday, leaving the school and town community heartbroken.

At 5 feet 5 inches tall, McClain wasn’t the biggest player on the field. But his friends and teammates said he always played the game with all his heart, even going back to his days as a youngster playing Pop Warner. Those same friends and teammates on Thursday crossed their arms in an “X” as they entered the field house, honoring the nickname for their beloved pal.

“I knew him since elementary school, he was one of my first friends…he was a good person, a very genuine person,” said classmate Jessica Diugrand.

Linden was playing Woodbridge at their home field on Sept. 9 when the 16-year-old took a catastrophic hit during the second half of the game. McClain was able to get back to his feet, but collapsed again and officials called for an ambulance.

“He got right back up like he was a strong person, and then fell back down. It was just hurting and sad to see someone go so fast, thinking they were gonna go back home to end up in a coma, you know,” said classmate Asia Marshall.

McClain was rushed to the hospital and fought to survive for two weeks before he succumbed to the severe head injury.

Linden Mayor Derek Armstead, who was at the game and knew McClain, said the community will come together to do whatever they can to support the devastated family.


Redrawn Districts Inject Uncertainty in Pa. Legislative Contests

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Democrats in Pennsylvania who have long blamed their party’s legislative minorities on Republican gerrymandering will find out in November whether friendlier district maps will edge them closer to retaking control of the House and Senate.

Nearly 400 state legislative candidates will appear on ballots Nov. 8, hoping voters will send them to Harrisburg to represent one of the 203 House and 25 Senate districts up this year after lines were redrawn in the once-a-decade redistricting process.

The new district boundaries, along with dozens of retirements and primary election defeats, will certainly bring change to the Capitol — but even the most ardent Democrats aren’t predicting they will swing enough seats to dictate when bills are voted on or if they even get a vote. Republicans currently hold 29-21 Senate and 113-90 House majorities. Democrats have not held a majority in either chamber since 2010.

If Republicans retain control next year, one of their first moves may be to put a referendum before voters to change the constitution in potentially sweeping ways. Provisions in it could have major implications for abortion rights, access to voting and a governor’s power to write regulations. The state, which gets a new governor in January, also has billions in coronavirus relief money to dole out and a fat budget surplus.

To get there, Republican candidates are emphasizing an anti-tax message, opposition to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s efforts to address the pandemic, and concerns about crime.

“It’s the economy, it’s jobs, it’s inflation and the cost of energy,” said Rep. Josh Kail of Beaver County, leading House Republicans’ campaign efforts.

Democrats hope a recent shift toward their candidates in the Philadelphia suburbs continues, while Republicans want to wring more seats out of northeastern and western Pennsylvania.

Republicans have more incumbents to defend and more retirements this cycle while facing population growth in some Democratic areas.

In the House, Democratic pickup opportunities are concentrated in the Philadelphia suburbs, including the Republican-heavy Bucks County delegation, along with open seats in the Harrisburg area, greater Pittsburgh and State College. A second House member from Lancaster also could boost Democrats’ ranks next year.

Republicans are working to flip seats opened by the retirements of veteran Democratic Reps. Mike Carroll in Lackawanna County, Gerald Mullery in Luzerne, Pam Snyder in Greene and Mark Longietti in Mercer. Vulnerable suburban Philadelphia incumbent Republicans include Reps. Todd Stephens, Chris Quinn and Craig Williams.

In a perennial swing district outside Philadelphia, Democrat Missy Cerrato is telling voters Stephens’ presence in the GOP caucus helps kill policy proposals he and district voters both support.

“At the end of the day, Todd voted for his leadership. So the extremists that he claims to not be like, he’s voting them into leadership,” Cerrato said.

Stephens, among the House’s most moderate members, is leaning into his Democratic-friendly votes on abortion and gun control, along with his likely ascendency to chair a House committee next year. Voters trading him in for a freshman makes no sense if Democrats aren’t in the majority, he said.

“It there’s 102 votes, 102 members can call up a bill. 102 members can pass a bill, and 102 members can defeat a bill. And it doesn’t matter which party those 102 members are from,” Stephens said.

Six senators, all Republicans, either lost primaries or opted to retire this year. There are also about 40 House seats opened by retirements and primary defeats — a large number by historical standards.

In four of the 25 Senate seats, incumbents have no opponent in the coming election. More than one-in-three House seats also will go to incumbents who are running unopposed and the eight newcomers who received their party’s nomination this spring to find themselves in uncontested races this fall.

The open seats are his priority, said GOP Sen. Dave Argall of Schuylkill County, who heads his caucus’ campaign effort.

“In the polls, in the town hall meetings, it’s primarily the economy — but education issues are important,” Argall said. “Crime is important. And people usually have more than just one issue on the top of their mind.”

Democrats are looking for an influx of support in the wake of this summer’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on abortion. Republican legislation to curtail abortion rights has been vetoed by Wolf, but that could change if Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano beats Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro for the governorship.

Senate Democrats see pickup chances in the Poconos, Lehigh Valley and suburban Philadelphia.

“The plan is, from a policy and messaging agenda, to repel this far-right extremist agenda that all the Republicans have adopted,” said Sen. Vince Hughes of Philadelphia, coordinating campaigns this year for Senate Democrats. “Unless you publicly denounce Mastriano and his antics, then you are embracing them.”

Next year will bring some new leaders into prominent positions, as three high-ranking Republicans lost primaries earlier this year. Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman of Centre County lost the gubernatorial primary and opted not to seek another Senate term. Senate Appropriations Chairman Pat Browne, R-Lehigh, lost the primary despite a district revamped to help keep the seat. And House Appropriations Chairman Stan Saylor, R-York, was unseated by a primary challenge from the right.

From Halloween Frights to Pumpkin Spice: Your Guide to Fall Fun in Philly Region

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Now that there’s an autumn chill in the air, spooky season is officially upon us.

Whether you like the spooky side of things or just looking for a pumpkin-spiced family weekend, this guide will get you through fall, one outing at a time.

Looking for a Scream in an Old Prison

If you’re looking to get the daylights scared out of you head over to Philadelphia’s Fairmount neighborhood to visit Eastern State Penitentiary’s Halloween Nights. The 10-acre prison is transformed into a massive haunted house (make that houses), packed with live entertainment, food and drinks.

This year they have three new haunted exhibits. Really want fright? Organizers have brought back extra scary opt-in option.

“Our visitors can amp up the scare factor or they can lower it,” Brett Bertolino, vice president at Eastern State Penitentiary said. “So we have something called opting in. If you choose to do one of the five haunted houses, you can get a glow necklace – that allows our monsters to touch you, to separate you from your group, send you down hidden passageways.”

  • When – Select nights, Friday, Sept. 23, through Nov. 12, 2022
  • Cost – Tickets start at $34

Family-Friendly Apple Picking in the Suburbs

While getting a scream can be fun, it may not be the best thing if you have small children or older relatives and friends. Luckily, Linvilla Orchards has your whole family covered.

Located in Media, Pennsylvania, the 100-acre farm has fun for everyone, including apple picking, pony rides, hayrides and so much more.

“This is a great place to be if you have young kids who just want a nice experience, it’s not scary at all,” Sarah Mills, an employee at Linvilla Orchards, said. “The witches are very friendly they tell jokes and stories.”

You can also opt to just walk the ground, feed the animals and check out the store packed with fall treats.

To grab tickets visit their site.

Spooky Cocktails? Yes, Please

Nightmare Before Tinsel returns for its annual Halloween pop-up bar in the heart of Center City Philadelphia. The zombie-themed bar is perfect for adults looking for a spooky drink and a photo op.

Teddy Sourias and Craft Concepts Group’s apocalyptic bar will have people imbibing on theme as they have drinks called blood bag and vampire shot.

  • Where – 116 S. 12th St
  • When – through 0ct. 31
  • Cost – Free Sunday through Thursday, $5 cover charge starts at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, not including the additional cost of drinks.

Shapiro, Fetterman Hold Leads in Pa. Gov., U.S. Senate Races, New Poll Shows

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Democrats Josh Shapiro and John Fetterman lead Republicans Doug Mastriano and Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania’s highly watched open races for governor and U.S. Senate, according to a new Muhlenberg College/Morning Call poll.

While Shapiro – the state’s attorney general – holds a “substantial” lead over state Sen. Doug Mastriano in the governor’s race, Lt. Gov. Fetterman’s lead over medical doctor and television personality Oz is a narrow one, the poll found.

The poll was released Thursday and surveyed 420 likely voters across Pennsylvania between Sept. 13-16. Including voters who lean toward a candidate, the poll found that if the election were held “today,” Shapiro leads Mastriano 52% to 42%. Meanwhile, Fetterman leads Oz 49% to 44% – within the 6% margin of sampling error.

The Democratic candidates also received much more favorable ratings from poll respondents than their Republican opponents.

Poll takers reported having a 49% favorable and 31% unfavorable view of Shapiro, a 31% favorable and 48% unfavorable view of Mastriano, a 44% favorable and 41% unfavorable view of Fetterman, and a 29% favorable and 53% unfavorable view of Oz.

Christopher Borick, the director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion, noted the political inclination of voters in a purple state as a possible reason for the contrasting fortunes of candidates who are running for the same party in separate races.

While Oz’s high unfavourability ratings have “dogged him throughout the campaign,” he may be faring better than Mastriano, his counterpart in the gubernatorial race, because he has fashioned himself as a more moderate candidate, Borick said.

He noted Oz has attacked Fetterman as too far to the left on a number of topics, but “walks a really tight line” – at once embracing former President Donald Trump’s endorsement but also disagreeing on some issues, notably saying he would have voted to certify President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.

This strategy may be especially paying off in the Philadelphia suburbs, Borick said. At the same time, Borick said Shapiro may be faring better than Mastriano in that region because the attorney general is seen as more moderate while his opponent in the governor’s race is “completely tied to the MAGA movement” and to Trump.

For his part, Borick said Mastriano has the support of Republican base voters, but he has to court more moderate Republicans – some of whom endorsed Shapiro – as well as some independents and Democrats. “I don’t see a lot of evidence that that’s happening,” Borick said.

The Pennsylvania races are both considered pivotal this year.

Vice President Kamala Harris currently holds the tiebreaking vote in the U.S. Senate, where Democrats hold 48 seats and rely on two Independents who normally caucus with them. With Republican Sen. Pat Toomey retiring, the Senate race between Fetterman and Oz is considered one of Democrats’ big opportunities to flip a Republican-held seat.

Meanwhile, the veto pen of term-limited Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has kept the Republican-controlled state legislature from passing laws that forward conservative priorities like looser gun laws and stricter abortion restrictions.

Abortion itself figures to be a key issue in both races. “You can see by our poll results that a majority of Pennsylvanians have a view that is supportive of maintaining those rights in general and of course in the state. A clear majority say abortion should be legal in most or all cases,” Borick said.

The Muhlenberg College/Morning Call poll found that abortion/reproductive rights was the second among voters’ top three issues. Twenty percent said abortion/reproductive rights was the most important issue in terms of deciding their vote, while 22% said the most important issue was the economy and 12% said it was inflation.

The poll found that 29% of respondents believed abortion should be legal in all cases and 32% believed it should be legal in most cases. Meanwhile, only 9% believed the practice should be illegal in all cases, while 21% said it should be illegal in most cases.

In the governor’s race, Shapiro has fashioned himself as an ardent supporter of women’s reproductive freedom who will uphold abortion protections. For his part, Mastriano has said he believes abortion should be illegal in all cases, including in instances of rape or incest or if the pregnancy risks the health of the parent.

Fetterman has vowed to vote to codify abortion rights into federal law if elected to the Senate. Oz, meanwhile, has said abortion is “murder” at any stage of a pregnancy and this week did not give a firm answer to Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Julia Terruso’s question about whether he would support South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham’s proposal to ban abortions nationwide beyond 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Graham’s proposal risks putting abortion “front and center” in the midterm races, Borick said.

“I don’t think Republicans, by and large, want it to be front and center,” he said. “They want inflation to be a lead. They want this to be a referendum on Biden.”

For all the candidates, issues and important dates that voters should know about in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, go to NBC10’s Decision 2022 page. You’ll find tools to help you navigate the midterm elections, including when to vote and who will be on your ballots in the primaries and November general elections.

‘Horrific Act of Violence': ‘Unprovoked' Killing of Everett Beauregard Caught on Cam

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What to Know

  • Surveillance video captured the “unprovoked murder” of recent Temple University grad Everett Beauregard in Philadelphia’s Powelton neighborhood early Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022.
  • Philadelphia police hope that a $20,000 reward helps them track down the killer.
  • “Not a word was spoken between the two prior to the offender shooting Mr. Beauregard in the back,” Philadelphia Police Capt. Jason Smith said.

Calling it a “unprovoked murder,” Philadelphia police on Friday announced a $20,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the gunman caught on camera shooting and killing recent Temple University grad Everett Beauregard near Drexel University.

Beauregard was out with friends in South Philadelphia and had taken SEPTA home, getting off the train at 34th and Market streets early Thursday, Philadelphia Police Homicide Division Capt. Jason Smith said at a Friday news conference.

Smith said it appeared that Beauregard intended to walk the rest of the way to his apartment on Spring Garden Street.

He never made it home.

Police officers found the 23-year-old bleeding heavily from his neck on North 35th Street, near Baring Street, in the Powelton neighborhood around 12:30 a.m. Thursday, Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said.

Officers rushed Beauregard to the hospital, where he died a short time later, police said.

Police released redacted video Friday afternoon that shows a thin man wearing a dark-colored zipper hoodie and black pants as well as a light-colored face mask, covering his chin and mouth and Beauregard walking toward each other on 35th Street.

Smith filled in reporters Friday on what the full surveillance video shows of the “horrific act of violence.”

“As Mr. Beauregard passes the offender, the offender quickly turns around and immediately begins firing at Mr. Beauregard as his back is turned towards him,” Smith said. “Mr. Beauregard is struck one time in the base of his neck, severing his spinal cord. Mr. Beauregard is observed collapsing onto the sidewalk.”

The shooter begins to run, but fires one final shot at Beauregard “as he lies helpless on the ground,” Smith said. In total, four shots were fired.

The gunman ran off on 35th Street toward Spring Garden Street, investigators said.

Smith said the shooter was observed lingering around in the area for more than an hour prior to the shooting. He was first captured on surveillance video around 11:21 p.m. Wednesday. He could be seen walking around with his right hand in his hoodie pocket, even at one point appearing to zero in on another person, but not acting.

“Obviously he’s armed with a firearm,” Smith said. “He’s out there looking for trouble.”

There was “no apparent reason whatsoever” for the shooting, Smith said. There was no robbery attempt, no argument and Beauregard had no apparent gang ties or previous criminal acts.

“Not a word was spoken between the two prior to the offender shooting Mr. Beauregard in the back,” Smith said.

Beauregard was a Great Valley High School alum and “recently graduated from Temple University with a Bachelor of Arts degree and was in the process of finalizing plans to begin his MBA in the winter,” a family statement released Thursday read.

Everett Beauregard
Everett Beauregard

“Everett was always willing to lend a hand to any anyone who needed his attention, love and humor,” the family statement said.

The Malvern native is survived by his parents and sister. The family thanked people for the “outpouring of sympathy” in light of Beauregard’s killing.

Beauregard worked for Wells Fargo, police said.

He had previously helped out on U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle’s 2018 campaign.

“He was a nice, well liked, and purposeful young man with a bright future ahead of him,” a “heartsick” Boyle, a Pennsylvania Democrat, wrote in a prepared statement. “We will truly miss him and we grieve along with his family and friends during this difficult time.”

The search for the shooter continued Friday.

“It’s somebody that we need to get off the street because we don’t know what provoked him,” Deputy Commissioner Frank Vanore said Friday.

Police urged anyone who believes the spot the man to not approach and call 911 immediately.

A standing $20,000 reward is available to anyone who helps nab the killer. Tips can be called into homicide detectives at 215-686-3334 or 215-686-3335 or submitted online.

Man in hoodie and mask in black and white surveillance video
Philadelphia police say this man was caught on camera shooting and killing Everett Beauregard.

Entering Friday, at least 393 people had been killed in shootings in Philadelphia in 2022, according to Philadelphia police data. That’s on pace with last year, which wound up having the most killings on record in the city.

There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.

1 Dead in Society Hill Shooting, Suspect in Custody

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A man was fatally shot after a fight broke out in the Society Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia Saturday morning, authorities said. 

At around 12:43 a.m., Philadelphia police responded to hearing gunshots and saw a man on the ground after the fight between a group of men and women near 423 South St., Philadelphia Police Capt. John Walker told NBC10. 

At the scene, officers found the 35-year-old man shot multiple times in his body, police said. The man was transported to Jefferson Hospital where he underwent immediate surgery. He was pronounced dead shortly after, police said.

The victim’s identity was not made public as of Saturday morning. 

A man seen traveling on 5th and Lombard Streets who fit the description of the accused shooter was taken into custody, police said. He was found carrying a gun in a bag, police added. 

The incident comes during another night of violence in the city, with two seperate shooting incidents on North 62nd Street in Overbrook and F Street in Kensington. Both victims were placed in stable condition, police said. 

An 18-year-old teen was shot twice in the chest, twice in the back and once in the head and arms while sitting in the back seat of an Acura on North Front Street at around 8 p.m., police said. He was pronounced dead at Temple Hospital at 10:54 p.m.

A man was also found stabbed on N. Judson Street in North Philadelphia around 10:11 p.m. on the highway, police said. He was listed in stable condition at Temple Hospital.

A count by the Philadelphia Office of the City Controller, last updated Sept. 22, shows at least 366 fatal and 1,378 non deadly victims of gunfire in 2022. The Philadelphia Police Department had recorded at least 393 killings as of Sept. 24.

There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.

2 Shot Near Del. High School Football Game

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Two people were shot near a high school football game in Middletown, Delaware on Friday night, authorities said. 

The shooting occurred on Bunker Hill Road just west of Choptank Road at around 9:15 p.m., Middletown police said in a statement. Two gunshot victims were found in the area and taken to Christiana Hospital with non life-threatening injuries, police said. 

The identities of the victims were not immediately made public. No charges were filed as of Saturday morning. 

The roads surrounding Appoquinimink High School were closed due to the shooting investigation, Delaware State Police said in a tweet Friday night.

The incident is currently under investigation by the Middletown Police Criminal Investigation Unit. 

Anyone who witnessed the incident is urged to contact Detective Womer at 302-376-9950 or via email at jwomer@middletown.delaware.gov. Information can also be provided by contacting Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or online at www.delawarecrimestoppers.com

Five Below's CEO Has Sights Set on ‘Triple-Double' Expansion

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To mark Five Below’s 10th year as a public company and its 20th year in business, CEO Joel Anderson rang the closing bell at the Nasdaq MarketSite on Thursday. Anderson is bullish on company growth and the upcoming holiday shopping season in part due to economic turbulence he believes will benefit the Philadelphia-based retail brand, reports the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Five Below opened 27 new locations in the second quarter to increase its national footprint to 1,252 stores, and it plans to triple its store count to more than 3,500 by the end of the decade.

In its most recent quarter ended July 30, the company saw a 3.5% year-over-year increase in net sales to $668.9 million. Despite that uptick, the company saw net income drop 36% compared to the same period in 2021, from $64.8 million to $41.3 million. Year to date, the company has opened 62 new stores with net sales up 5.2% year over year to $1.3 billion.

The company’s stock price stood at $131.48 per share when Anderson rang the closing bell on Thursday, down about 37% from $209.71 at the start of the year.

Check out PBJ.com’s full article for how Five Below is seeking to break away from its traditional $5-and-under model with new prototype stores.

Stay in the know on all things business with the Philadelphia Business Journal


SEPTA Board Votes to Proceed with 70-Property Acquisition for King of Prussia Rail Line

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SEPTA’s board of directors voted on Thursday to move forward with the acquisition of 70 sites to make way for its proposed King of Prussia Rail Line project, the Philadelphia Business Journal reports.

The 70 sites are located on or around the rail line’s proposed path and would allow the transportation agency to build out the rail line itself, as well as associated train stations and parking facilities. The project is estimated to cost $2 billion.

The next step in the process includes appraising the properties, determining fair market value and making offers for the land.

In a Final Environmental Impact Statement completed in January 2021, SEPTA said that 54 partial parcels and 13 full parcels were targets for permanent acquisition. Of those, nine were categorized as residential, 44 as commercial and 14 as “other.”

Anna Hooven, program director for King of Prussia Rail, said that none of the 70 sites currently being targeted are residential properties. She added that there were some changes to the properties outlined in the Final Environmental Impact Statement, but the majority stayed the same.

The transportation agency hasn’t yet disclosed the 70 properties it is looking to acquire. Hooven said that SEPTA has been in discussions with many of the landowners already but still has some remaining property owners on the list that it wants to meet with before releasing a comprehensive list.

Check out PBJ.com’s full article for how the decade-long project found its footing, and where the five King of Prussia Rail Line stations are slated to be anchored in.

Stay in the know on all things business with the Philadelphia Business Journal

Arrest Made in Robbery of Dispatcher Steps from Philadelphia Police Headquarters

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A man who is accused of robbing a dispatcher as she walked into work at Philadelphia Police Headquarters earlier this month has been arrested, authorities said. 

Lonnie Watlington, 40, was charged with aggravated assault, robbery and related offenses in connection with the Sept. 15 robbery, Philadelphia police officials said. 

Philadelphia police said Watlington attacked and robbed the dispatcher in front of their new headquarters at Broad and Callowhill streets in Center City shortly before 6 a.m., when he allegedly ran at the woman from behind, grabbed her backpack and violently pulled her to the ground, dragging her about 10 to 15 feet before fleeing the scene with her bag. 

Philadelphia police released video of the attack caught on cameras outside their building.

The 25-year-old woman works as a dispatcher, police said, in the building where dozens of police vehicles surround at any time of the day.

“She was on her way to work, going in at 6 – her shift starts at 6, literally a few steps from the door,” said Gordon Zimmitt, the president of the union that represents the woman, AFSCME Local 1637. “The worst thing we can have is people thinking that police headquarters isn’t safe.”

Zimmitt said the woman was recovering after being hospitalized. 

It was not immediately clear what her condition was as of Saturday afternoon. 

The same morning, after purchasing food for a man panhandling inside a convenience store, officers reviewed a patrol alert and realized the man might’ve been behind the robbery near police headquarters. A review of surveillance video found that the man the officers encountered was the same man involved in the robbery.

Watlington was arrested on Sept. 21 on the 300 block of N. Columbus Boulevard wearing the same or similar clothing as seen in the convenience store surveillance video, police said. 

At police headquarters, Watlington gave officers a hard time establishing his identity to process his arrest, police said.

Braves' Kyle Wright Takes No-Hitter Into Sixth Inning; Phillies Can Still Win Series Sunday

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Wright takes no-hitter into 6th; Phils can still win series in home finale originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

If someone had told you a week ago that the Phillies had a chance to win a four-game series against the Atlanta Braves, you’d have run to the bank with it.

Heck, after the way things went for the Phillies last weekend in Atlanta, you’d have taken a split.

It’s all about perspective, even in these crucial final days of a regular season in which the Phillies are trying to nail down their first playoff berth in a decade.

The Phils suffered a 6-3 loss to the Braves at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday. The Braves roughed up Bailey Falter for 10 hits and six runs over 3 2/3 innings and got a fine start from Kyle Wright, who won his 20th game of the season after taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning.

As discouraging as it was to suffer the loss and get out-hit, 14-3, in front of a good crowd of 36,392, the Phils had to be mindful of the big picture.

They beat the Braves in the first two games of the series to guarantee at least a split. They can still win the series with a victory behind Kyle Gibson (he’ll face Charlie Morton) in the final home game of the season Sunday. 

Certainly, the Phillies would take a series win after being swept by the Braves in a three-game series last weekend in Atlanta.

These two teams could see each other again in the first round of the playoffs in 13 days. But first, the Phils have to get there. There are 11 games left in the regular season and the Phils will play 10 of them on the road, where they are 36-35. The Phils entered Saturday leading San Diego by a half-game and Milwaukee by 2 ½ in a three-team race for the final two NL wild card spots. San Diego and Milwaukee were playing later Saturday.

The Phils beat Atlanta by scores of 1-0 and 9-1 in the first two games of the series. The Braves were still without offensive dynamo Ronald Acuna Jr. (sore back) in this one and slugger Matt Olson also did not start. That didn’t stop the Braves’ offense. William Contreras belted a solo homer against Falter in the third inning. Michael Harris II followed with a two-run shot in the fourth to key a four-run rally. Falter relied heavily on his fastball and the Braves did some damage on it in the fourth.

Meanwhile, Wright cruised for the Braves. He did not allow a hit until Rhys Hoskins doubled with one out in the sixth. Bryce Harper followed with a homer to cut the Braves’ lead to 6-2 and Wright exited at 97 pitches.

The Phillies rallied for a run in the seventh to make it a three-run game and Hoskins missed a three-run homer that would have tied the game by just a few feet when he lined a ball down the left-field line. He ended up striking out and the Phils went quietly in the eighth and ninth.

Lulled to sleep by Wright’s good work over the first five-plus innings, the crowd really got into the action in the seventh inning. It made you kind of think it would be fun to see the Braves and Phillies meet in the first-round playoffs, though all the games would be in Atlanta if that were to happen.

Even in defeat, there was one big positive for the Phillies. Harper’s homer was a line drive to left field. Maybe, just maybe, it was the bolt that will get him going. He was 10 for 68 (.147) in the month of September before that at-bat. If he were to get hot over the last 11 games, it could be a magic-carpet ride into the playoffs for the Phils.

One more game remains in the regular-season series between the Phillies and Braves. The Braves have won 10 and the Phillies have won eight. The Phils can’t win the season series, but they can win this series and that would be a great way to close out the home portion of the schedule and head out on the road for a final 10-game sprint that will determine if the postseason drought lives or dies.

2-Year-Old Shot Inside North Philly Home: Police

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A 2-year-old boy is recovering after police say he was shot inside a Brewerytown home Saturday night.

Officers from the Philadelphia Police Department were called to a property on the 2200 block of 20th Street just after 8:30 p.m. for reports of a shooting.

The toddler, who was shot at least once in the back, was driven by his mother to Temple University where he was listed in critical condition.

“[It’s] just another tragic situation where you have, again, a kid that should not have to worry about this,” First Dept. Police Commissioner John Stanford told NBC10. “A 2-year-old should just be able to play and live and be free, and not have to worry about fighting for their lives as a result of a gunshot wound. It’s just disheartening.”

It wasn’t immediately clear if the shooting was accidental. No charges were reported by authorities immediately following the shooting.

2 Killed, Others Injured at Unsanctioned Wildwood Car Rally; Driver Charged

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Two people were killed and another was seriously injured during an unsanctioned car rally that wreaked havoc across in Wildwood, New Jersey over the weekend, according to the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office.

Gerald J. White, 37, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been arrested and charged in connection with the deadly Saturday night crash, the prosecutor’s office said.

White’s 2003 Infiniti was at standing stop before authorities said it took off and hit at least one vehicle and pedestrians.

“I saw this car speeding, zooming so fast. In the blink of an eye, he was gone before I even saw the whole car, and within three seconds I heard the crash,” Eileen Robinson recalled.

The prosecutor’s office said it was around 9:30 p.m. at Burk and Atlantic avenues when White first struck a 2014 Honda Civic, then two pedestrians. White had tried to leave the scene amid the chaos of the H2Oi event, but was quickly caught and arrested.

The passenger in the Honda Civic, 34-year-old Timothy Ogden of Clayton, New Jersey, was rushed to Atlantic City Medical Center but authorities said he died a short time later.

“Tim was always a caring, fun person to be around and our family is heart broken and devastated,” his relatives said in a statement. “He was the kind of person that could make anyone laugh.“ 

Photo of 34-year-old Tim Ogden provided by family.

One of the pedestrians, 18-year-old Lindsay Weakland of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, died at the scene, the prosecutor’s office stated.

A third victim remained in the trauma unit after she suffered injuries in the crash, family members told NBC10.

Prosecutors said White was charged with two counts of second-degree Death by Auto, a count of second-degree Eluding, and nearly a dozen other related charges.

White was being held in the Cape May County Correctional Facility pending court proceedings. Other charges may be added, officials said.

“We called the police,” said Mary Sclafani, who was visiting Wildwood. “They barricaded the street, and the people just took the barricades and threw them. It was totally havoc, I was worried for the police.”

A second crash occurred involving a golf cart with injuries, but additional details were unavailable Sunday afternoon, the prosecutor’s office said.

“Make no mistake that the tragic and dangerous events over the last several days in Wildwood, Rio Grande, Seaville and surrounding communities are a direct result of the organizers of a pop-up car rally self-identified as H2Oi or
H2O22,” Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey Sutherland said in a release. “Directing hundreds if not thousands of people driving high performance vehicles to an area without any planning, staging or permitting created the chaos that
led to these deaths and injuries.”

Videos posted on social media depict people hanging out of cars as drivers spin in circles surrounded by a large crowd in the city, as well as burnouts, racing, drifting and crashes. 

Damage to storefronts and downed traffic meters could be observed Sunday morning during cleanup efforts.

“The cars were outrageous, speeding up and down the streets, the noise was unbelievable,” Angel Fioravanti told NBC10. “It was scary because I saw people trying to walk off the sidewalk onto the street, and cars were … weaving in and out of the traffic, revving their engines, the noise was atrocious. It really was.” 

Around 9:35 p.m., George Redding Bridge was closed to inbound traffic due to the unsanctioned event.

“[It was] dangerous. I had to go home,” Wildwood resident Michael Mercaldo told NBC10. “I spend these whole weekends out.”

City officials knew the unsanctioned event was coming to town, having issued an advisory days ago. Wildwood police also said it was aware of the unauthorized event and would have extra personnel on duty.

“The police did do their due diligence and they were under the game plan that the state police had given to us,” Wildwood Mayor Pete Bryon said Sunday. “They were just outnumbered.”

The Wildwood Police Department also maintains a zero-tolerance policy regarding careless and reckless driving, Wildwood Police Chief Robert Regalbuto said in a statement, adding that violations of the policy may result in impounded vehicles.

County prosecutor Sutherland added, “Anyone thinking of engaging in organizing any type of similar pop-up event is forewarned that there will be a swift and appropriate law enforcement and legal response.”

New 42-Unit Condo Project Coming to Fishtown

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Riverwards Group is set to open a 42-unit mixed-use building at 2636 York St. in Fishtown next spring, adding for-sale condos to a neighborhood becoming saturated with rentals, reports the Philadelphia Business Journal.

In a growing community full of townhomes and a sprinkling of apartment buildings, the six-story Lenora is targeting a demographic that wants to own a home in the neighborhood, according to Larry McKnight, a managing partner at Riverwards Group. McKnight, who grew up in Fishtown and still lives there, said “there’s nothing else in this neighborhood like this.”

While Riverwards has and will continue to develop rental properties in the area, McKnight said he and fellow Riverwards Managing Partner Mo Rushdy felt Fishtown was in need of something different.

“We don’t want to glut this market with rentals,” he said. “There’s a lot of [houses] for rent, so we really want to target people who want to live and buy and own in Fishtown, where there was really no product for people to buy. Now there’s 42 units.”

Check out PBJ.com’s full article for how the condos are set to be priced, as well as a glimpse of Riverwards’ other neighborhood developments.

Stay in the know on all things business with the Philadelphia Business Journal

First Alert Canceled; Gusty Storms, Showers Possible Into Evening

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What to Know

  • Be weather aware Sunday as there is a chance for showers and thunderstorms throughout the Philadelphia region.
  • A First Alert, initially issued for for locally damaging winds, hail and a weak tornado, has been canceled. 
  • Ahead of the stormy weather, temperatures rose to the high-70s with partly sunny skies.

Partly sunny skies and early-autumn temperatures didn’t last too long on Sunday afternoon, but the storms and showers that moved through our area didn’t stay, either.

The NBC10 First Alert Weather Team has canceled the First Alert initially issued for severe storms through the entire Philadelphia region until 10 p.m. Sunday.

The fast-moving system packed the potential for locally damaging winds, hail and even a brief or weak tornado. However, after it dumped rain through the Philadelphia and southern New Jersey region, it quickly moved out of the region.

Some showers and gusty, isolated storms may still linger across New Jersey and Delaware, as well as the southern Jersey Shore points, through 11 p.m. Sunday.

The majority of the storms are likely to clear before midnight, but leftover storms should exit the area by 1 a.m. 

Be sure to have the NBC10 app downloaded to get any severe weather alerts and the latest forecast wherever you may be.


Video: Northeast Philly Wawa Ransacked by Group of ‘100 Juveniles'

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A group of about 100 people ransacked a Wawa convenience store in Northeast Philadelphia on Saturday night, and the crimes were recorded and posted on social media, police said.

Philadelphia Police say they’re reviewing the video of “juveniles” breaking and stealing items inside the store on Roosevelt Boulevard at Tyson Avenue around 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

The mob of juveniles caused thousands of dollars’ worth of damage of to the Mayfair Wawa, according to PPD.

“We will seek to identify everybody that was in that Wawa,” Philadelphia Police Capt. John Ryan said. “Everything in that Wawa is on video. We are just now getting that video from Wawa corporate.”

Responding officers were able to disperse the teens, police said. Investigators believe they came from a neighboring skating rink, but don’t know what triggered the outbreak inside the store.

No injuries were reported, police said.

As of Sunday night, tens of thousands of people had watched and reposted the videos on social media platforms.

Police said they have yet to make any arrests. Anyone with information is asked to contact PPD’s Northeast Detective Division at 215-686-3153.

2 Teens Shot in Philly's Nicetown Neighborhood

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Two teenagers were shot when gunfire rang out in Philadelphia’s Nicetown neighborhood early Monday morning.

The teens, 13 and 14, were shot just before 3:30 a.m. near the intersection of Hunting Park Avenue and Roosevelt Boulevard, the Philadelphia Police Department said. They were both hospitalized in stable condition.

Police could not immediately say what led to the shooting. No arrests were immediately reported.

The teens now join a growing number of minors who have been shot in Philadelphia this year, including a 2-year-old boy shot in the back in the city’s Brewerytown neighborhood Saturday night. At least 171 kids have been shot this year, according to figures by the city controller’s office.

In July, city leaders instituted a modified summer curfew intended to keep children safe and away from criminal activity amid rising violence. That curfew is set to expire Thursday and has thus far been unable to prevent a number of other shootings involving minors.

Despite their good intentions, research shows that curfews are not effective at reducing crime. A 2016 review of studies on juvenile curfews published by the nonprofit Campbell Corporation concluded that, “The pattern of evidence suggests that juvenile curfews are ineffective at reducing crime and victimization.”

While the review noted that the studies suffered from limitations that make it difficult to draw firm conclusions, it nonetheless concluded that “curfews are unlikely to be a meaningful solution to juvenile crime and disorder.”

There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.

Funeral Held for Philly Parks and Rec Worker Killed by Stray Bullet

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City leaders and members of a West Philadelphia community gathered Monday for the funeral of a parks and recreation employee who was killed by a stray bullet outside the rec center she served.

The viewing and funeral for Tiffany Fletcher, a 41-year-old mother of three gunned down earlier this month at the Mill Creek Playground, was held at the Deliverance Evangelistic Church.

The viewing began at 9 a.m., and the funeral took place at 11 a.m.

Fletcher was described as someone who cared greatly about her community and answered the call to service.

“Our city is inspired by her dedication and deeply saddened by the lost of Tiffany. And we can say with assurance she lived her life as an exemplary Philadelphian, as an exemplary human, as someone we can only hope to be as good as.” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said at the services.

Fletcher was caught in the crossfire at the Mill Creek Playground when the teen began shooting at a group returning fire, Philadelphia Police Department Chief Inspector Frank Vanore said.

Fletcher only began working at the rec center this spring, heeding the call for more staffers needed to open pools during the summer, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell said. Ott Lovell said. She worked as a pool maintenance attendant and agreed to stay beyond the summer to work at the rec center located less than two blocks from where she and her family lived.

“She was a wonderful girl. She loved everybody. She gave you the shirt off her back, she gave you the food off her table,” one of Fletcher’s nieces said at a press conference earlier this month.

A 14-year-old is charged with her murder.

There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.

Philly Art Museum Workers Go on Strike, Asking for ‘Living Wage'

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Adam Rizzo has worked at the Philadelphia Art Museum for eight years as one of the staff educators for the tens of thousands of grade school students who come to the museum every year.

He says he hasn’t received a raise in three years and makes $50,000 a year.

Low and stagnant pay for about 190 staff members at the museum, ranging from retail workers and ticket vendors to curators, art handlers and educators, forced those workers to strike Monday, according to Rizzo, president of the museum workers’ union, DC 47 Local 397.

“We can’t afford to live in Philly with what we’re getting paid,” Rizzo said. “We’re trying to make an adjustment here so the museum can hold onto its staff.”

He added that many of his union members are paid $15 an hour, and some salaried positions start at $30,000.

“When you think about that many positions at the museums require master’s degrees, you’re talking about people who are experts in their fields and come here with lots of student debt,” Rizzo said.

The union is willing to picket outside the museum all week, he said, unless the museum’s administration calls to ask them to come back to the table with a better offer in hourly wages and salaries.

Philadelphia Museum of Art workers picket outside the museum’s Kelly Drive entrance, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022 during a strike that the union president described as “indefinite” in length. (NBC10)

A spokesman for the union on Friday said the museum’s negotiators last made an offer that includes an 8.5% increase this year and an 11% increase to pay by 2024.

“We are disappointed that the union has chosen to strike, but we remain focused on reaching a fair and appropriate contract with the union,” museum communications director Norman Keyes said in an email.

The strike comes as the art museum’s new president and CEO, Sasha Suda, begins her tenure. The 41-year-old is the 14th person to lead the downtown institution.

Rizzo said he hopes the strike doesn’t last long, but he and his colleagues were willing to stay out for as long as it takes to get “a living wage.”

“Before the pandemic, we welcomed 70,000 school students every year,” he said. “I hope I’m getting back to that. I’d like to be teaching kids later this week.”

Officers to Face Trial in Young Girl's Death After Football Game

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Three former police officers charged with killing a young girl when they fired 25 shots at a moving car as a nearby crowd left a high school football game will face trial on manslaughter charges, a suburban Philadelphia judge ruled Monday.

Prosecutors contend the Sharon Hill officers negligently fired at a car they wrongly believed was involved in gunfire that broke out as the game ended. Four people were shot by police outside the stadium, including soon-to-be third grader Fanta Bility.

Ballistics testing could not determine which officer fired the shot that killed her, but a grand jury recommended that all three face charges in her August 2021 death. Brian Devaney, 41, Devon Smith, 34 and Sean Dolan, 25 were charged in January with voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter and multiple counts of reckless endangerment.

Delaware County Common Pleas Judge Margaret Amoroso upheld all of the charges at Monday’s hearing, according to Margie McAboy, a spokesperson for District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer.

Their lawyers have accused prosecutors of succumbing to political pressure to pursue charges. They did not immediately return phone messages seeking comment on Monday.

The officers told investigators they thought the car driving toward them was the likely source of the gunfire, prompting them to return fire.

Bility had attended the game with her mother and an older sister who was also shot but survived. Her family, who belongs to a community of immigrants from Guinea, described her as a sweet child who had a smile for everyone.

The officers were later fired by the Sharon Hill Council, a small borough near Philadelphia International Airport. Devaney was not wearing a body camera at the time, while Dolan and Smith did not turn theirs on, investigators said.

The chaotic scene unfolded after two teens got into an argument and exchanged gunfire outside the Academy Park High School stadium. The district attorney initially charged the teens with murder over the child’s death, but those charges were later dismissed.

___ Follow AP Legal Affairs Writer Maryclaire Dale on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Maryclairedale

Philly Police Union Endorses Republican Oz in Pa. Senate Race

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Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz scored what in years passed might have been a surprise endorsement: a Philadelphia union’s backing.

But in recent elections, as progressive Democrats like Oz’s opponent, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, called for more holistic approaches to crime-fighting and criminal justice, the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 have separated themselves from the city’s traditionally Democrat-supporting unions.

On Monday, the FOP endorsed Oz, citing his law enforcement-centric approach to violence prevention.

“We need, and this is very key, we need to have Dr. Oz in this position to support our law enforcement,” FOP President John McNesby said at an event with Oz. “That’s the last thin line that the community has to be able to keep themselves safe.”

McNesby and the FOP were vehement opponents of Krasner’s 2021 re-election, which the DA won in a landslide over his opponent, a former assistant district attorney who Krasner fired when he first took office in 2018. The FOP’s support in that race wasn’t the only local law enforcement endorsement. The Guardian Civic League, which is a coalition of minority city police officers, came out to support Krasner.

The FOP did split its endorsement across party lines, with Democrat Josh Shapiro getting the union’s endorsement on Monday in the Pennsylvania governor’s race. Shapiro, the state attorney general, faces Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano.

Crime and punishment is one of the biggest issues in the race for the open U.S. Senate seat, which is being vacated by current Republican Sen. Pat Toomey. He declined to run for a third term.

Democrats see the seat as a huge opportunity to hold onto control of the Senate, and Fetterman has been leading Oz in polls for months. The most recent poll, which was released last week, showed Fetterman with a 5-point lead over Oz.

Oz has consistently hammered Fetterman as too soft on criminals while Fetterman has pushed back that Oz is generalizing the Democrat’s positions on criminal justice reforms.

As the Nov. 8 election nears, both candidates have begun appearing more regularly in southeastern Pennsylvania, where a large portion of the state’s electorate lives and votes.

For decades, Philadelphia’s suburbs have been an important indicator of success for statewide candidates in the presidential battleground state, with the large number of swing voters there.

In the 2020 presidential election, those highly populated ‘burbs were decisive in President Joe Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania, with moderate GOP voters joining Democrats to produce an insurmountable deficit for Donald Trump.

For Oz, a celebrity heart surgeon and the former host of the daytime TV show “The Dr. Oz Show,” turning around Trump’s suburban slump and gaining ground with moderates is critical.

Fetterman has made abortion rights a prominent theme in the suburbs to invigorate female voters after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. Oz, meanwhile, avoids mention of Trump or abortion in the suburbs but paints Fetterman as soft on crime and unfit to serve because of a stroke he suffered in May.

Besides airing a laundry list of grievances with national Democrats and Biden, Haley, Oz and other speakers at the Springfield banquet hall warned the crowd that Fetterman wanted to make their communities less safe.

“He’s out trying to release people who’ve been convicted by a jury and sentenced by a judge for murder,” Oz said at the rally.

Fetterman, as lieutenant governor and chair of the state Board of Pardons, has pushed for more commutations of life sentences for people convicted decades ago of murder or as accessories to murder.

As Oz tries to shift the focus of the campaign away from abortion rights, the issue shows no sign of waning from voter’s minds. Last week, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina proposed a federal 15-week abortion ban bill, which Democrats seized on as an example of the extreme policies that Republicans will pursue if they win control of Congress in November.

In a statement issued after Graham’s proposal, Oz — who has said he opposes abortion from conception, but with exceptions to protect the life of the mother and in cases of rape and incest —sidestepped a direct answer on what he thought of the bill.

“As a senator, he’d want to make sure that the federal government is not involved in interfering with the state’s decisions on the topic,” Oz’s campaign said in the statement.

Noting Oz avoided saying whether he would support Graham’s bill, Fetterman suggested that Oz’s position of leaving the issue up to the states would result in far stricter bans in some places.

Fetterman’s campaign says the abortion issue will be decisive in November — helping counter inflation and national political headwinds for Democrats — and featured it at Sunday’s “Women for Fetterman” event in the gymnasium of Montgomery County Community College.

“Women are the reason we can win,” Fetterman told the cheering crowd. “Let me say that again. Women are the reason we win. … Don’t piss women off!”

Donna McMenamin, 66, a Republican from Folsom who supports abortion rights, said she was worried by one attack ad she saw on TV that claims Fetterman wants to release state prison inmates who are hardened criminals — which Fetterman’s campaign has called a lie. He has endorsed recommendations by prison reformers that the state can release more geriatric or rehabilitated prisoners without harming public safety.

Still, she said the most important factor in her vote was rejecting any candidate aligned with Trump, whom she detests. Instead, she will vote for Fetterman this year “because he’s not a Republican.”

The Associated Press contributed reporting to this story.

For all the candidates, issues and important dates that voters should know about in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, go to NBC10’s Decision 2022 page. You’ll find tools to help you navigate the midterm elections, including when to vote and who will be on your ballots in the primaries and November general elections.

Man Dies After He's Shot 21 Times in Spring Garden, Police Say

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A man was killed after he was shot nearly two dozen times in Philadelphia’s Spring Garden neighborhood on Monday afternoon, police said.

According to Philadelphia police, the 19-year-old was shot 21 times throughout his body while on the 600 block of North 13th Street.

Officers rushed him to the hospital where he died at 2:15 p.m., police said.

Authorities said no arrests had been made.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.


Riders Can Report Cleanliness Issues on SEPTA From Their Cell Phones

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If you see something dirty while riding on SEPTA, you can now report it from your phone.

SEPTA announced riders can now report issues with cleanliness throughout the system by scanning a QR code with their smartphone.

In a statement, SEPTA said it installed QR codes on the exit doors of several of its buses, trains, and trolleys for passengers to scan, rate and report cleanliness.

“Data collected from this survey is an essential tool allowing us a quicker response time when addressing these issues,” SEPTA CEO and General Manager Leslie S. Richards said.

SEPTA added that once the customer scans the code, the two-minute QR Vehicle Cleanliness Survey will pop up. The data will be sent to SEPTA’s operations vehicle maintenance group.

Man, Wanted for Sexual Assault of 71-Year-Old in Philly, Arrested in N.C.

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A man wanted for sexually assaulting and beating a 71-year-old woman after breaking into her Philadelphia home in broad daylight was arrested Monday night in North Carolina.

Zyree Downing, 22 of Middletown, Delaware, was arrested around 11:32 p.m., the Philadelphia Police Department said. He will be transported back to Philly by the PPD’s Special Victims Unit and be arraigned in the coming days.

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s office said Downing will face rape, burglary, strangulation and related charges for allegedly beating and sexually assaulting the victim on Sept. 15.

Downing’s apprehension came just hours after the PPD released his photo and asked for the public’s help in finding him.

According to Philadelphia Police Department Capt. James Kearney, Downing first demanded money from the victim and, when she offered jewelry instead of money, repeatedly punched her in the head and back, as well as choked her. That’s when he allegedly forced her to take off her clothes and proceeded to sexually assault her.

Downing entered through the unlocked front door of the victim’s house on the 7400 block of Devon Street in the East Mount Airy neighborhood, the PPD said. At the time, he was screaming for help, which Kearney said was a “ruse” to enable him to commit the crime.

The man dragged the woman up and down the stairs as he beat her, then he sexually assaulted her on the second floor, Kearney said. She eventually managed to fight him off.

“He repeatedly told her she was going to kill her, and she told my investigators that she is a strong woman who will survive, and she did. She has my respect, and today I think she’s a hero,” Kearney said.

Authorities said after the assault, Downing stole the victim’s gray 2014 Toyota Corolla and drove it down to Chowan County, North Carolina where he crashed it. Local officials found the car abandoned, the DA’s office said. They ran the vehicle’s tag and contacted Philly police.

“According to investigators, one of the passengers in the stolen car turned up a local hospital and was interviewed by local authorities,” the statement from the Philadelphia DA’s office reads. “That passenger additionally helped local authorities identify Downing as the driver of the stolen vehicle.”

Downing was then arrested by local authorities, Philly officials said.

“It’s disturbing. I get worked up over it,” an emotional Kearney said following the assault. “It’s disturbing. People go about their daily lives and to be interrupted with a traumatic incident like this is concerning. So, we need the help. We need people to come up and step forward and be this great city that I know it is.”

The District Attorney’s Office also added that Downing had faced weapons charges in June of this year when he was involved in a shootout in North Philadelphia. Video showed him and another male exchanging gunfire, which resulted in Downing being shot multiples times and hospitalized in critical condition. The other male wasn’t identified or arrested, making Downing the only victim, the DA’s office said.

Downing was arrested and charged in the case, however, the DA said when Philly police officers, who were witnesses for the state, didn’t appear to testify twice in court, the case was withdrawn.

Resources for victims of sexual assault are available through the National Sexual Violence Resources Center and the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-4673.

Kenney Signs Executive Order Banning Guns at Philly Rec Centers

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Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney on Tuesday signed an executive order banning guns at city recreation facilities, as the city looks to take another step to help ease its rampant gun violence crisis.

The executive order bans weapons at rec centers, playgrounds, pools and athletic fields and courts. Violating the order means that not only would offenders be charged with any applicable gun crimes, but they would also face trespassing charges, District Attorney Larry Krasner said.

“Even if you have a permit to carry and you go on those premises, then you have a problem with me,” Krasner warned.

Andrew Richmond, with the city’s law department, said the executive order reflects the city’s belief that it has the authority to limit guns on its own property. Kenney, however, acknowledged that the state is likely to challenge the rule, but said that “that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be trying.”

Due to Pennsylvania’s preemption law, Philadelphia is legally barred from enacting gun control measures that would impose stronger restrictions or penalties on residents than what state law enforces.

The city has unsuccessfully challenged the preemption law in court. Nonetheless, city officials say they see signs that future lawsuits could be successful.

According to police, there have been 18 shootings at or near recreation centers in the city so far this year. Since 2019, there have been nearly 300 incidents of gun violence at parks and rec facilities, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell said.

“Our facilities are staffed by public servants who care deeply for their own communities and who mentor all young people who come through their gate as if they were their own. But too often recently our recreation centers and playgrounds have become the scene of gun battles, violence and senseless loss of life,” Ott Lovell said.

The announcement of the executive order came Monday, the same day as a parks and rec employee, who was killed when she was struck by a stray bullet, was laid to rest. Loved ones of Tiffany Fletcher said the new ban is a start.

“As long as we know you’re working to keep the guns away,” said Taaijah Henderson, Fletcher’s cousin. “A start always means you’re trying.”

Fletcher’s family and friends remembered her Monday night outside of Mill Creek Recreation Center in West Philadelphia. It’s the exact location where she lost her life, caught in crossfire, while performing her duties at a city playground earlier this month.

“You can’t even walk to the store, or like my cousin, you can even work without running or losing your life,” Henderson said. “It’s just crazy. Philly is crazy. We just got to come together, stick together.”

On Tuesday, there were at least 400 homicides in Philadelphia in 2022, according to Philadelphia police data. That’s down 1% from the same time last year, which was the deadliest on record in the city.

There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.

Man Charged With Groping Women on SEPTA's Broad Street Line

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A man faces multiple criminal charges for allegedly groping two women on SEPTA’s Broad Street Line.

Raymond Nunez, 25, is charged with two counts each of stalking, indecent assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and harassment, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office said. The alleged groping happened Sept. 19, setting off a search for his whereabouts amid worries the groping could escalate into something more violent.

The first attack involved a 22-year-old woman who was waiting for the train at City Hall Station. The suspect, now identified as Nunes, followed her onto the train and, after she sat down, stood over her and – without saying a word – grabbed her breast, Philadelphia Police Department special victims unit Lt. John Hewitt said. The man got off the train as it pulled into the Tasker-Morris Station.

Nunez waited around at the station and later approached a 40-year-old woman standing on the platform, Hewitt said. He asked her for a cigarette, so she gave him the one she was smoking, after which he asked for a kiss, Hewitt said. The woman declined, but he grabbed her around the waist and began kissing and groping her, according to the lieutenant.

As a train pulled into the station, Nunez allegedly ran off and fled northbound on Broad Street.

Resources for victims of sexual assault are available through the National Sexual Violence Resources Center and the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-4673.

Dump Truck Spills Dirt on Pa. Turnpike, Closed Westbound Lanes in Bucks Co.

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A dump truck crash closed all westbound lanes of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Feasterville on Tuesday afternoon, causing traffic to back-up for miles ahead of the evening commute.

All lanes of the turnpike reopened around 5:30 p.m.

Turnpike authorities said the dump truck crash on Interstate 276 happened near mile marker 349 around 2 p.m.

SkyForce10 overhead showed the dump truck in the right lane and dirt all over the roadway.

No injuries were reported, police said.

Traffic was being diverted off the turnpike at the Roosevelt Boulevard exit.

Drivers can expect traffic delays in the area.

5 Students Shot, 1 Killed, at Roxborough HS Football Scrimmage

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A teenage boy was killed and four others were injured in a shooting behind Roxborough High School in the Roxborough neighborhood of Philadelphia Tuesday afternoon, police said.

The victims were Roxborough High School football players who were finishing a scrimmage against two others teams and were walking off the field, according to Philadelphia police.

Two gunmen fired at least 70 times as they ambushed the group on the 300 block of Fairway Terrace, behind Roxborough High School, around 4:41 p.m., police said.

A 14-year-old boy was hit at least once in the chest and rushed to Einstein Medical Center where he died a short time later, police said.

The victim was on the Roxborough football team, but Philadelphia School District spokesperson Christina Clark said he attended nearby Saul High School, a magnet school that focuses on agricultural sciences.

Another 14-year-old boy was shot in the leg and was listed in stable condition at a local hospital, according to police.

A third student, 17, was struck four times throughout his body, authorities said, and was taken to the hospital in stable condition.

Philadelphia police said one other victim was taken to the hospital in an unknown condition, and another suffered a graze wound.

SkyForce10 was overhead as one of the victims was placed into the back of a police car and rushed away from the school parking lot. Blood could be seen nearby.

The scrimmage between Pennsylvania’s Roxborough High School, Northeast High School and Boys’ Latin Charter School ended around 4:30 p.m., Philadelphia Police First Deputy Commissioner John Stanford said.

A light green Ford Explorer was seen driving off westbound on Fairway Terrace about ten minutes later, police said.

“While no members of the Boys’ Latin school community were physically hurt, the emotional toll of this tragedy will be long-lasting,” Boys’ Latin said in a statement. “We mourn the loss of life and the loss of the ability to feel safe and secure in our city. Far too many Boys’ Latin students have been robbed of this basic right. Their teammates, friends, families, teachers, and neighbors have as well. The school urges the city to take action.”

No arrests had been made as of Tuesday evening.

“I am personally disturbed and angry with this senseless act of violence, and it is unacceptable,” said Philadelphia School District Superintendent Dr. Tony B. Watlington Sr. “On behalf of all of us in the school district, hearts and prayers out to the families of today.”

The school district’s Emergency/Crisis Response Team and a school-based team of social workers and counselors will be on-site in all impacted schools “to support students and staff as they process and grieve this tragedy,” Watlington said.

Philadelphia police said a reunification center for parents and students is located at 6401 Ridge Avenue.

Amtrak, SEPTA Trains Halted as Massive Junkyard Fire Burns in North Philly

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All Amtrak and SEPTA trains are halted between 30th Street Station and New Jersey as a massive fire burned in a North Philadelphia junkyard Tuesday evening.

The massive black smoke plume could be seen for miles and nearby residents were warned to stay inside while air quality tests were performed.

SkyForce10 was over the scene at Titan Auto Recycling at North 3rd and West Sedgley streets around 5:30 p.m. An hour later, the massive dark gray smoke plume is still rising from the junkyard.

The Philadelphia Fire Department said about 100 firefighters responded to the fire.

City health officials warned residents in nearby neighborhoods to avoid going outside for the time being.

The fire was placed under control at 7:15 p.m., but the fire department said they will remain on scene for several hours to put out hotspots.

No injuries have been reported.

“The Philadelphia Department of Public Health is warning residents to avoid the area or try to stay inside. The Health Department has dispatched inspectors to the area to collect air samples to assess air quality and the potential for any threat,” officials said in a statement. “At this time, no specific hazardous substances have been identified, and the Department is taking this action out of an abundance of caution. Residents in the area should take precautions to avoid unnecessary exposure to smoke.”

SEPTA trains on the Trenton and West Trenton lines through the area were being delayed as the tracks connecting 30th Street station with New Jersey run directly adjacent to the junkyard.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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