Manhunt continues in Philly for ‘person of interest’ in multiple murders after I-95 crash

Police block traffic at Broad Street and Oregon Avenue during a manhunt for a man from Delaware. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Police block traffic at Broad Street and Oregon Avenue during a manhunt for a man from Delaware. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Updated 5:20 p.m.

Philadelphia police launched a manhunt Wednesday afternoon for a driver who led police from Wilmington on a chase up Interstate 95, caused a crash that injured three officers and then slammed a SEPTA bus in Philadelphia and fled on foot.

Philadelphia police identified the suspect as 20-year-old Dejuan Robinson, who they said was a “person of interest” in multiple homicides and probation violations in Delaware. Police warned residents that Robinson “is armed and dangerous” and was last seen near Broad and Oregon streets. He is 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 160 pounds, according to the PPD.

Police conduct a manhunt in South Philadelphia for a man from Delaware who rammed a police car on I-95 then crashed his car near Broad Street and Oregon Avenue.(Emma Lee/WHYY)

At 5 p.m. Philadelphia police spokesman Jeff Chrusch said Robinson still had not been caught.

“The investigation is still continuing,’’ Chrusch said.

Wilmington police, however, said they thought Robinson was among the people in a car they were pursuing at about 11 a.m. on the city’s East Side. But the driver never pulled over, police spokeswoman Sgt. Stephanie Castellani said so she could not confirm that Robinson was actually in the car.

Earlier Wednesday, Castellini had said police were searching for a suspect wanted on “multiple felonies,” but at about 5 p.m. she said that suspect was Robinson, but he was only wanted for a probation violation on an old gun charge.

She added that there are no active arrest warrants on file for Robinson, but would not say whether police suspect him of involvement in any homicides, as the Philadelphia police asserted.

Parents collect their children at Jenks Elementary School in South Philadelphia, which was on lockdown while police search for a man from Delaware that caused a crash injuring four people. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

What we know about the suspect

Robinson admitted in court in 2017 that he was a member of Wilmington’s Touch Money Gang, which prosecutors have implicated in dozens of violent crimes, including several murders in the street violence that has devastated parts of Wilmington in recent years.

In 2015 at age 17, Robinson escaped police custody in Delaware while being transported from Family Court in Wilmington. It took almost a month and multiple law enforcement agencies to find him. That juvenile arrest stemmed from being caught with a loaded 9-mm semi-automatic handgun during a traffic stop, authorities have said.

Robinson is currently on probation in Delaware with GPS monitoring for unspecified probation violations.

The underlying conviction was a February 2017 plea bargain for possession of a firearm by a person prohibited, illegal gang participation and third-degree escape. At that time he was sentenced to 18 months in prison, retroactive to October 2015, when he was caught after escaping.

Three troopers suffered minor injuries

Earlier Wednesday afternoon, several schools in the area of South Philadelphia near Broad Street and Oregon Avenue went on lockdown amid the manhunt.

South Philadelphia High School, A.S. Jenks, Bregy Elementary School, and Fell Elementary School were dismissed with the help of Philadelphia police, according to a school district spokesman.

Wilmington Police say two officers are being treated at a hospital after the highway crash near the Philadelphia International Airport, but are expected to be released. One city police cruiser flipped over during the crash and a city bus full of passengers was also hit in the chase, according to SEPTA.

Pennsylvania State Police spokesman Ryan Tarkowski said one trooper was hurt in the crash. The trooper was taken to Riddle Memorial Hospital with minor injuries and is expected to receive a few stitches and be released.

This developing story will be updated.

WHYY reporters Cris Barrish, Tom MacDonald, and Avi Wolfman-Arent, as well as The Associated Press contributed reporting.

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