Anderson death may link to ’09 shooting

Life at the Abbotsford Homes development in East Falls is anything but normal two days after resident Rashawn Anderson was gunned down in the street near his home.

It happened Monday night at around 11, on McMichael Street, the curved road that leads up to the development.

Neighbor Pat Thomas, known as “Ms. Pat” to Rashawn Anderson, was already in bed.

“I woke up out of sleep with the shots,” she said.

Philadelphia Police report the 17-year-old Roxborough High basketball star was hit “multiple” times. Thomas said she only remembers hearing two shots. Anderson was taken to Temple University Hospital where he was pronounced dead around 11:45 p.m.

Theories over the killing are easy to come by.

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. 10.

“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. 

Other media reports speculate that Rashawn’s death could be linked to a developing feud between youths from Abbotsford and the Allegheny neighborhood just to the south. 

Wednesday at Abbotsford, Anderson’s cousin, Maurice Smith was still trying to work it all out. To him, the murder was totally senseless.

“He was my little cousin,” Smith said. “It’s a shame, he didn’t have nothing to do with that.” 

“He comes from a very good family,” Pat Thomas said. “He had his troubles but he turned his life around.”

That turnaround came when he made the Roxborough High School basketball team and matured into the school’s leading scorer. And those troubles, Thomas said, were just  “kid stuff.”  Nothing that would tie him into something like this.

Thomas recently visited Anderson’s grandmother, Sharon Anderson, who was his guardian. She described her as “just limp” with grief.

Thomas knows something about what that feeling is like. She lost two of her own sons to gun violence as well. 

Roxborough High School Principal Steven Brandt said the school has several counseling services in place to support students and staff through this emotional time. 

“At this point, I respectfully ask for us to have the private time necessary to progress through the mourning process,” Brandt said in an e-mail.  “Please rest assure that RHS will rebound from this difficult time and continue to grow and prosper as a school community.” 

 

Aaron Moselle and Megan Pinto contributed reporting to this story.

If you have memories or stories about Rashawn Anderson you’d like to share, please feel free to use the comment section below.

 

This is a corrected version of the story above. The original version used the wrong first name for Rashawn Anderson’s cousin.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.