Chester eatery again the scene of violence

Posted: February 20, 2012

A LATE-NIGHT takeout restaurant in Chester that's become a "public nuisance" was the scene of a shooting spree early yesterday that left a young woman dead and three other people critically injured, police said.

Gunfire erupted just after 3 a.m. at J & S Seafood, at 9th and Kerlin streets, said Chester Police Commissioner Joseph Bail Jr.

When cops arrived, they found a 22-year-old woman dead in the parking lot next to a vehicle with a bullet hole in it, police said.

Inside the door of the restaurant, cops found a woman in her mid-20s with multiple gunshot wounds. About a block away, they found a 24-year-old man with multiple gunshot wounds.

A 21-year-old man, believed to be the shooter, was found behind the restaurant with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head, Bail said. That man was in critical condition last night under police guard at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

The other surviving victims were in critical condition at Crozer-Chester Medical Center.

No names were released.

Bail said the shooting stemmed from a domestic argument that began inside the restaurant. The nature of that dispute was among details still being investigated.

Since 2001, Chester police have responded to J & S Seafood 59 times, including three times for slayings and 10 times for assaults, Bail said. Most of those offenses have occurred between 2:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m., he said.

Although J & S serves no alcohol and has no indoor seating, Bail said it has become a "public nuisance" because it's a late-night meeting spot.

"It's an establishment that continues to be a thorn in the side of the city's progress," he said, adding that he'd like to see it permanently shuttered.

Chester Mayor John Linder said he'd like its late-night hours curbed.

"If any business is operating normally and they have some things randomly occur, that's one thing," Linder said. "But if it's a pattern and a go-to spot we've got to stop that pattern."

Linder called yesterday's bloodshed a "catastrophe" and urged anyone who may be in a dangerous domestic situation to seek counseling.

The death marked Chester's third homicide this year.

It was the third shooting incident at the busy intersection in three months.

On Dec. 9, the owner of a Sunoco station and A Plus market was fatally shot during an attempted robbery there, and on Feb. 10 City Controller Edith Blackwell and a young man were shot at the Sunoco station but survived.

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