Another shooting death in Germantown

A shooting death in Germantown the night of Jan. 19 has neighbors worried about their otherwise quiet Morris Street section near Chelten Avenue.

“I’ve been telling everyone this is not as bad an area as people think it must be,” said Elizabeth Cunningham who has lived on the West Germantown block with her husband for 45 years. “To have this happen is a blow.”

Walking home at around 8 last night, Cunningham discovered fire and police vehicles blocking off the street, and a man lying on the ground near the corner of Woodlawn Street.

A police spokesperson said the investigation has not turned up any information about the victim yet except that he was a black male with a gunshot wound to the chest. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

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Some residents wonder if the crime even occurred on the street. Several who live very close to where the body was discovered say they never heard any shots fired.

“My bedroom is in the front of this house and I didn’t hear a siren or a shot, nothing,” said Susan Demetrevits.

The homes on 5500 Morris are for the most part large, well-cared for twins. Residents described the block as well integrated, stable and filled with good neighbors.

But Demetrevits knows from experience that even a street like hers is going to face violence from time to time. On March 6, 2009, at about 4 p.m. she was brutally attacked by Christopher Russell, when she was returning to her home from the grocery store. His blows collapsed the left side of her face.

It was light outside, Demetrevits had an alarm at her home, but still neighbors didn’t notice the attack. Russell was later caught and convicted for numerous attacks on senior women under just these circumstances. Demetrevits testified at the trial, but it’s been hard work to put the experience behind her.

As she prepared for a midday walk this afternoon, she worried about doing so by herself.

“I had just started getting over the Christopher Russell thing, and now this.” she said.

The number for tips to the police homicide division: 215-686-3334 or 3335.

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