East Germantown man held for trial in East Mt. Airy murder case

A 20-year-old man facing murder charges in connection to a fatal mid-summer shooting in East Mt. Airy is now scheduled to stand trial.

Brian Tootle, of the 500 block of E. Mayland Street in East Germantown, was held for trial Wednesday following his preliminary hearing inside Philadelphia Municipal Court.

On July 27, Nafis Armstead, 23, was shot multiple times shortly after 8:30 p.m. on the 200 block of East Sharpnack Street. He was taken to Albert Einstein Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 8:58 p.m.

A second shooting victim, Gerald Jones, 26, was shot in the torso but survived.

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Citing a report from the Medical Examiner’s Office, Assistant District Attorney Brendan O’Malley, who is prosecuting the case, said Armstead suffered seven gunshot wounds – two to the head, one to the chest, one in his back, two to his right thigh and one which grazed his right ear.

Stippling on Armstead’s left side indicated that the shots were fired at close range, he said.

A quick arrest

Officer Tyrone Broaddus of the Philadelphia Police Department’s 14th District testified that he received a radio call around 8:34 p.m. with flash information on the shooting that described suspects as “three males in a green Mercury minivan.”

About one minute later, while en route to the crime scene, Broaddus said he encountered a green 1993 Mercury Villager minivan traveling westbound on Carpenter Lane.

After calling for calling for backup, Broadus followed the van to a rear parking lot of an apartment complex on Rosemary Lane.

At Rosemary Lane, Broaddus said he saw Tootle exit from the driver’s side, leaving the door open. As he headed over to check out the van, a second suspect exited the vehicle.

Broaddus said he apprehended Tootle “within a minute or two” of his departure from the vehicle.

O’Malley said there is an active, ongoing investigation concerning the second suspect in the shooting.

A .357 caliber revolver with an obliterated serial number was found in the grass just 10 feet from where Tootle was taken into custody, noted Broaddus.

A Glock 23, a semi-automatic pistol with an extended magazine, was recovered from the floor of the minivan.One of Tootle’s fingerprints was found on the top side of the Glock, according to police reports. No other prints were found on either weapon.

Second victim a no show

ADA O’Malley said the second shooting victim, Gerald Jones, did not sustain serious injury from his wounds, but was subpoenaed as a witness. Jones, however, failed to show up Wednesday.

Aggravated assault charges against Tootle for Jones’ injury were subsequently dismissed.

Tootle is charged with murder, conspiracy murder, possession of an instrument of crime and possession of firearms without a license.

He was 19-years old at the time of the shooting, but turned 20 earlier this month.

An emotional day

Following the proceedings, Tootle blew a kiss to his family, four of whom were seated in the court’s gallery.His attorney, Guy Sciolla, declined comment.

Also present was Armstead’s widow, Diamond Armstead, who said she did not recognize Tootle as anyone she or her husband may have previously known before his murder. She shared that she felt numb during the hearing, but was in tears by its conclusion.

She also voiced confidence that the second suspect with be arrested. “What’s in the dark will eventually come into the light,” she asserted.

Tootle will be arraigned Dec. 19. A trial date has not yet been scheduled.

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