Dad: Son shot to death in argument over cigarette

Posted: May 22, 2012

Victor Guzman tried to pull his son away from the man he’d been arguing with on his front stoop in Frankford Sunday night.

Before he could get him back into the house, it was too late.

The man Guzman’s son, 25-year-old Edward Pagan, had been fighting with pulled a gun and opened fire in front of their rowhouse on Adams Avenue near Wingohocking Street, wounding Guzman and killing Pagan.

“I was trying to drag my son into the house,” Guzman, 49, said quietly as he stood outside the house Monday, his left arm bandaged from elbow to knuckles. “The bullet went right in my forearm and through into my son’s back.

“My son fell to the ground, and [the man] just kept shooting,” he added, gazing down at the sidewalk in front of the door where his son, wounded at least three times in the torso and groin, collapsed. “I don’t know how many times.”

It was then that Guzman, who works as a corrections officer, told his wife to get his own gun from inside. By the time Guzman had his .38-caliber handgun, the man who shot his son took off.

“I shot once up in the air,” Guzman said.

No one else was hit, and police said that they recovered Guzman’s gun at the scene but did not find another weapon. Investigators said that Guzman was intoxicated when they arrived.

He said that he’d been sitting in the living room and that Pagan was out front getting ready to visit a friend when the shooter approached him and “demanded” a cigarette. The argument that led to the shooting ensued from there, Guzman and police said.

Homicide Capt. James Clark said Monday that police have a person of interest that they’re “building a case around” in the murder and expect to make an arrest soon.

Trina and Nate Hasty, who live across the street, rushed outside to help after the shooting.

“We were trying to find where he was shot and put pressure on it,” said Trina Hasty, who’s lived on the block for seven years.

Her husband performed CPR on Pagan until medics arrived, but Pagan was pronounced dead at 11:33 p.m., about an hour and a half after the shooting, at Temple University Hospital.

“He was a good kid. He stayed out of trouble,” Guzman said, adding that his son worked in security but was between jobs when he was killed.

Neighbors described the family as quiet and said that they were shocked at the violence that erupted on their quiet block.

“It’s not right. ... They stay to themselves. There’s no trouble, no drama,” said Dean Lovelace, 32, who went outside when he heard the shots and saw Pagan lying on the ground and his father, distraught, tearing down the block in search of the shooter. n

Contact Morgan Zalot at 215-854-5928 or zalotm@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @morganzalot. Read her blog PhillyConfidential.com.

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