Fire claimed their house, gunfire claimed their lives

Posted: February 25, 2014

A MAN shot his wife to death then turned the gun on himself in the basement of his mother's North Philadelphia home on Saturday while his mother, sister and 11-year-old niece were upstairs, according to police.

The couple, whose identities have not been released, were living in the basement of the husband's mother's house after they lost their own home in a fire, police said.

The tragedy of their deaths was compounded when a brawl broke out between members of the victims' families as they gathered outside the house this weekend.

Officers initially were called to the house on Somerset Street near 26th about 2:40 p.m. Saturday. There, they discovered the 30-year-old female victim dead from a single gunshot wound to her chest. Her 40-year-old husband lay dead nearby from a single gunshot wound to his head. Both victims were pronounced dead at the scene.

A Homicide Unit supervisor said that the man's mother, sister and 11-year-old niece were upstairs at the time of the shooting and one of them made the call to police.

Although initial reports from police indicated that there was no weapon recovered, the homicide supervisor said yesterday that a gun was found in the house near the bodies and that the case has been ruled a murder-suicide.

Yesterday, four young girls sat on the porch of the house, talking. A woman who came to the door declined to comment.

Television footage from Fox 29 outside the house on Saturday showed that emotions ran high between both families, and the situation escalated to a fight. Officers had to physically restrain and handcuff the participants.

Homicide investigators and the department's Public Affairs Unit were unaware, however, of any arrests or charges as a result of that fight.

Block captain Shonte Canady said that the fight began when "One of the families was talking something" about one of the deceased.

Canady, 34, said that, unfortunately, shootings are not a surprise in her neighborhood.

"It's really not unusual, not for this block," she said.

On Twitter: @FarFarrAway



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