N. Phila. 'family man' is slain in alleged road-rage dispute

Posted: June 11, 2014

"IT'S NOT WORTH IT," Theodore Johnson said.

He couldn't understand why a New Jersey man allegedly killed his cousin over something as petty as a traffic dispute.

"It's silly," he said last night at the Logan house where his cousin, Todd Riley, lived.

"It's not worth him dying, and it's not worth that man sitting in prison for the rest of his life."

Riley, 43, whom Johnson described as a kindhearted family man who treated him like a brother, died early Sunday at Temple University Hospital, police said. He succumbed to gunshot wounds he had sustained about an hour earlier, when police say a disgruntled biker opened fire on him less than a mile from his home.

The man accused in that slaying, Christopher Fields, 33, of Newark, N.J., was charged last night with murder, weapons violations and related offenses, police said.

A police source said that Fields is a member of the Wheels of Soul motorcycle club, and that his "colors" - clothing identifying him as a member of the club - were recovered in a trash can near the scene next to a semiautomatic pistol allegedly used in the shooting.

The source said the fatal shooting was motivated by road rage. Fields apparently thought that Riley had cut him off in his Buick Century while the biker was driving on Roosevelt Boulevard with his fellow club members, the source said.

At some point, the source said, Fields drove up to the Buick and blasted into its driver's door.

When police arrived, they found several bikers surrounding the "bullet-riddled" car, as well as more than seven spent shell casings nearby, the source said.

Riley and his girlfriend, riding in the car's passenger seat, had both been hit multiple times, and police rushed them to Temple University Hospital. Riley's girlfriend, whose identity was withheld by police, was in stable condition last night.

Meanwhile, officers saw Fields fleeing the scene, and tailed him for a few blocks before apprehending him, police said.

"When I heard about it, I couldn't believe it was real," a grieving Johnson said last night. "You're not supposed to kill someone over something like that."

Riley leaves three children: a 17-year-old son and two daughters, ages 10 and 6. Johnson said that when his cousin wasn't working for a Norristown-based sanitation company, he devoted all his attention to his kids.

"He was a family man. He was just a fun person to be around," he said of Riley.

A viewing for Riley will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Khadijah Alderman Funeral Home, on Hunting Park Avenue near Arch Street in Nicetown, his family said. It will be followed by a janazah traditional Muslim funeral prayer at 11 a.m.

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