Two Sought In Triple Slaying In West Philadelphia One Is Also Wanted In A November Killing. The Other Has Been Linked To The Shootout Near A School Bus.

Posted: December 21, 1995

Rudolph McGriff and DeWitt Drayton are young and baby-faced, but police say they are two very dangerous fellows.

Yesterday police issued arrest warrants for McGriff, 18, of the 5800 block of Christian Street, and Drayton, 20, of the 800 block of South Cecil Street, in the Dec. 1 drug-related ambush that left two men and a teenager dead in West Philadelphia.

Police also issued a warrant yesterday for Drayton in the Nov. 18 slaying of Abdul Kirkpatrick, 18, who was found shot in the head in a house in the 800 block of June Street. Police said that shooting also was drug-related.

Last week, a warrant was placed on McGriff in the Nov. 27 shootout in West Philadelphia during which a school bus carrying handicapped children got caught in the crossfire.

Drayton also is wanted in the September robbery of a girl whose boyfriend owed drug money. Police sources said both McGriff and Drayton have drug offenses on their juvenile records.

Drayton is 5 feet 7 inches and weighs 145 pounds. McGriff is 5 feet 6 inches and weighs 130 pounds. Police said both suspects look younger than their ages.

"These guys are young, and yes they are dangerous, but that's what's going on now with this whole drug scene," said one police official. "Am I surprised at their ages? No. Is it a shame? Yes."

Both McGriff and Drayton are known to frequent the area of 46th and Parrish, the heart of the drug scene in Mantua, where 17 slayings early this year prompted Police Commissioner Richard Neal to form a task force.

Despite the number of shootings, police said it was too simplistic to attribute all of the deaths to a drug war.

"It's certainly not just a war between two factions fighting for control. A lot of these killings are over things like people not paying up on time, or other things," said one police official. "I would characterize it as a lot of violence connected to the drug trade, although there is enough firepower to characterize it as warlike."

This month, Julius Pickard, 29, a former Junior Black Mafia member who police say was trying to muscle his way into the Mantua drug action, was shot and killed in a Cedarbrook bar. That shooting was over a woman, not drugs, say police.

But police have said that Pickard and McGriff were known enemies and that their feud may have resulted in the shootings for which McGriff and Drayton are now sought.

Police said at 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 1, McGriff and Drayton pumped dozens of bullets into a white Dodge minivan near 40th Street and Girard Avenue, killing Joseph Gill, 16; Gerald Bullock, 18; and Leon Anderson, 25, before fleeing in a brown van.

The victims were associates of Pickard, police said.

Anderson's brother, Michael, was also hit, with gunshot wounds to the stomach and legs, but he vanished shortly after being taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

The shooting may have been a continuation of the gun battle on Nov. 27, when two men - one in a car and one in a pickup truck - shot it out at 48th and Sansom Streets. A child on the school bus with handicapped children suffered minor injuries.

Both gunmen left their vehicles behind. A fingerprint lifted from the pickup truck belonged to Joseph Gill, police said. The car, they said, was registered to McGriff.

McGriff is no stranger to police. He was arrested and charged with two homicides as a juvenile, but was acquitted of both charges after his defense attorney argued he was the victim of a mistaken identity.

Police are asking anyone with information about McGriff and Drayton to call the Homicide Division at 215-686-3334 or 215-686-3335.

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