1 dead after brutal Crescentville attack

Posted: April 18, 2014

THE STRETCH OF Newtown Avenue near Godfrey seems the perfect place to disappear.

The narrow, one-way thoroughfare is strewn with trash and shadowed by a thick cover of trees. No houses are nearby, only a few commercial properties and SEPTA train tracks.

Yesterday, that remote stretch of pavement became the site of the latest brutal attack to rock Crescentville.

Just before 6 p.m., officers found two men shot there, Chief Inspector Scott Small said.

Duct tape covered their faces and bound their wrists. One man, 26, was able to free himself from his bindings and talk with the officers. He had been shot in his back, arm and leg, and was taken to Albert Einstein Medical Center in critical condition. He remained there last night, conscious and cooperating with police, Small said.

The other victim, whom a police source identified as Carl Johnson, 29, wasn't so fortunate: He was pronounced dead at the scene, having been shot in his face, back and leg.

Preliminary information indicated that the men had been abducted from another part of the city and then dumped in Crescentville, Small said.

It wasn't immediately clear at what location they had been shot, but six spent shell casings were found near the men.

No information about a motive was given. A police source said investigators were looking into the heist of an armored car earlier in the day as a "potential link" to the attack.

In that incident, about $150,000 was taken outside a TD Bank branch about 5 miles from where Johnson and the other man were found.

Last night in Crescentville, investigators were consulting surveillance footage from a nearby plumbing-supply firm. The owner declined to comment to a reporter as he escorted police into his office.

But Debbie Schaible, who lives around the corner, had plenty to say.

"It's gotten to the point where I don't want to go out, or let my daughter go out," she said. "People say, 'Well, it's time to move,' but where are you going to go?

"This stuff is happening everywhere, it seems."

Two other high-profile killings have occurred in Crescentville and nearby Lawndale this year: a triple homicide inside a home on Martins Mill Road near Oxford Avenue, and the slaying of a mother and son in a home on Stevens Street near Hasbrook Avenue.

All of those victims also had been bound with duct tape, but there didn't appear to be a link between those slayings and yesterday's attack, Small said.

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