Investigators are still looking for answers in the murder of Roxborough High hoops star Rashawn Anderson, 18, who was gunned down near his home at the Abbotsford public housing project in East Falls on Monday night.
Philadelphia Homicide Capt. James Clark says there are still no suspects and “no good leads” at this time.
“What we know is that there is an ongoing feud between the young guys in the Abbotsford projects and the young guys at 31st and Allegheny,” Clark said.
He added that there have been some minor and major flare-ups over the past year and a half but he doesn’t know if those are related to Anderson’s death.
Capt. Stephen Glenn of the 39th Police District says investigators are looking at the possibility that the murder could be connected to a 2009 shooting at the nearby McDonald’s on Allegheny Avenue.
Three suspects were arrested for attempted murder in that shooting; all of them were Abbotsford residents.
The trial for two of the suspects, Karell Turner and Michael Greene, began Wednesday, Feb. 9.
“It’s been a while since we’ve had a problem [in the Abbotsford complex],” Glenn said. “So this could be a new issue. It could be entirely unrelated. But because the trial started this week, it does make it a possibility. It’s hard to know.”
Glenn added that he has deployed extra officers to that neighborhood.
Ronald Hinton Jr. is a longtime resident of Allegheny West and president of Allegheny West Foundation, a community development corporation for the neighborhood. He declined to comment specifically on the rivalry between the two youth groups but said the community, like any community, is distracted, upset and disturbed about the senseless crime.
“This is a very horrific event that happened in the neighborhood that involved young people,” Hinton said. “That just inspires us to try to do more on the outreach side, the organizational side, the positive outcomes so that kids have different options.”
A former resident of Abbotsford with close familiarity to the Allegheny West neighborhood, who wished to remain unidentified for safety reasons, said he went back this week to visit the apartments.
“I was really paranoid not knowing what’s gonna happen,” he said.
He said that the reported feud between the two neighborhood groups is “definitely a possibility” for a motive.
“But as far as I know, Rashawn wasn’t involved in that,” he said. “He was a good kid and basketball player.”
He added that the ongoing feud is “one of those things you don’t walk around discussing, everybody knows you just stay out of it,” and he says whatever the conflict was about, it “wasn’t worth getting murdered over.”
Hinton Jr. said the key to moving forward is to figure out ways to prevent these crimes from happening in the future.
“This is the type of thing we just don’t need to have in our communities,” Hinton said.
Aaron Moselle and Patrick Cobbs contributed reporting to this story.