PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia Police announced Thursday that one man has been arrested and another man is in custody in the killings of four people found shot to death in a basement last week.
Officials said 32-year-old Jahlil Porter has been charged with murder, robbery and other offenses. Police withheld the name of the second man in custody until charges are filed. They said they are seeking a warrant for a third suspect in the shootings.
Philadelphia Police spokesman Capt. John Ryan said investigators believe the two male victims - 31-year-old William Taylor and 28-year-old Akeem Mattox - had found a stash of drugs while they were renovating homes. Ryan said he did not believe the drugs came from the home where the four were found shot, but it was unclear what home the stash was found in.
Ryan said at least one of the men, who were raised together and called themselves stepbrothers, contacted one of the suspects to try to sell the stash of drugs. The deal turned into a robbery and then a murder, he said.
The men and two women- 20-year-old Tiyaniah Hopkins and 17-year-old Yaleah Hall, who were sisters- were found on Nov. 19 "executed" in the basement of the home after a family member called and asked for a welfare check. Neighbors later told police they had heard loud bangs the night before, which officers believe were the sounds of gunfire.
"They were all laid on the ground and executed," Ryan said.
Police Commissioner Richard Ross called the suspects violent and vicious, saying it was "incomprehensible" that someone could "do this to a human being."
"At a minimum, three people were collateral damage in a horrific incident," he said, later adding the women had no apparent knowledge of or connection to the deal.
Police would not say what drugs or how much were found. They also would not say which man they believe had set up the deal. But Ross said the stash of drugs was so small "it would blow your mind" that it led to such a crime.
Ryan said Porter has nine prior arrests, but could not recall the exact charges.