A man who had been evicted from a Philadelphia homeless shelter for being intoxicated fatally shot one employee and wounded another after returning for his belongings Sunday morning, authorities said.
The man, who had been evicted Friday night, got into an argument with an employee at Station House shelter in north Philadelphia, pulled a gun and opened fire, police said.
One employee, a man in his 40s, was reportedly shot in the head and pronounced dead at the scene and another, a 26-year-old man, was shot in the hip and taken to a hospital. He is expected to survive.
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A resident of a homeless shelter in North Philly returned two days after being kicked out because he was drunk and shot two people, say police
‘He was my close friend, he was a good guy, he helped everybody out. He loved his job,’ a distraught shelter resident Matthew Formelio said of the deceased, according to WPVI.
The gunman – wearing a green hoodie, a black skull cap and jeans – was last seen fleeing behind railroad tracks in the rear of the building. Investigators said the shooter had been identified by the surviving employee.
Capt. Anthony Ginaldi said police are still searching for the 32-year-old gunman they consider armed and dangerous.
Former mayor W. Wilson Goode, whose SELF, Inc. organization runs the shelter, praised the two workers.
One of the employees, a man in his 40s, was reportedly shot in the head and died – the other, a 26-year-old man, was shot in the hip and is expected to survive
‘I don’t think you could have found more dedicated employees, more concerned employees, more compassionate and passionate employees about what they do.
‘They love their work and people who work with them love them,’ said Goode, who served as Philadelphia mayor from 1984 to 1992.
Goode said normally people are patted down when they enter the shelter, but that the suspect had entered with food workers. He said the security procedures would be re-examined.
Officials expressed shock as well as fears that the crime might deter people from entering shelters as frigid weather was poised to enter the region overnight.
‘We’re very, very, very concerned; this is not something that happens in the city of Philadelphia’s shelters for people experiencing homelessness. It’s a very unusual situation,’ said Marie Nahikian, director of the city Office of Supportive Housing.
Nahikian called assisting people who are on the street very difficult and ‘very complicated.’
Shelter workers and residents say the men who were shot were very well liked and dedicated to their jobs
‘When you have to run a facility that has rules and you’re still loved by the residents here, it makes you a very special person,’ she said.
Station House is described on the organization’s website as ‘an emergency shelter and after hour intake site providing client service case management, a computer lab, and residential services for 99 men.’
Mayor Jim Kenney called the shooting ‘a heartbreaking tragedy’ and vowed the city’s full support for the shelter, its workers and their families, adding that officials will help with the security review.
Kenney also urged anyone in need of shelter services to continue to use them with a ‘code blue’ alert slated overnight, which gives officials the power to bring in homeless people to shelters.