After more than two weeks, the details of an early-evening shooting at the Abbotsford Homes in East Falls remain murky.
At around 6:45 p.m. on Feb. 27, a 28-year old Germantown man drove into the public housing complex at Henry and Roberts avenues in search of an Abbotsford address. He then heard two gun shots, which pierced through the driver-side door and struck both of his legs, according to police.
Following the brief, but painful incident, the injured man drove himself to Temple University Hospital for treatment and was later released. There were no other reported victims in the Sunday shooting. There were also no reported witnesses.
The Philadelphia Police Department has not yet made any arrests in the case. Officers are still searching for suspects and working to determine a motive.
“[The report] doesn’t state that he was the target of anything,” said Officer Tanya Little, police spokeswoman. She added that the man told police that he didn’t get a glimpse of the shooter.
Captain Stephen Glenn, whose 39th Police District includes Abbottsford, said officers combed over an area around 3200 McMichael Street, but didn’t come away with any evidence of a crime scene. An Abbotsford resident did later tell police they recalled hearing gunshots the day of the shooting, he said.
Glenn shrugged off the possibility that the shooting has any ties to an ongoing feud between the youth living at Abbotsford and an area around 32nd Street and Allegheny Avenue. Many in the area believe the two-year feud is behind the fatal shooting of Rashawn “Shawnee” Anderson, an 18-year-old Roxborough High School student who was gunned down on Feb. 7, not far from his Abbotsford home.
“There’s no connection, as far as I know with the incident, with anything else in the world,” said Glenn, who added that the victim is older than those involved in that rivalry.
“It’s kind of a strange story,” he said.
Still some residents of Abbottsford aren’t so sure this incident is isolated. When asked about a possible Abbotsford-Allegheny connection, long-time Abbotsford resident Greg Brinkley didn’t rule the option out.
“I didn’t know the details of it, but very clearly, people suspect that it was those guys from Allegheny,” said Brinkley, a nearly 40-year Abbotsford resident.
Brinkley said incidents like the February shootings are not going to be stopped by police alone. While detectives can investigate and make arrests, he said, they and other officers are ill-equipped to address the underlying psyche of the neighborhoods that fuel the feud.
In particular, the youth from both sides of the feud have a tenuous relationship with the police department and aren’t likely to heed officer input on the matter, said Brinkley.
Brinkley, whose past includes bullet wounds, drug-use and jail time, said the youth need to work out their differences with community members familiar with the area’s street life at the helm.
To that end, Brinkley and other men from Abbottsford and Allegheny will hold a private meeting Saturday with youth from both sides of the dispute. Rashawn’s father, “Big Shawn” Anderson, is set to attend that meeting.
“I can’t say they shot anybody specifically, but these are the core guys that have been battling. We’re not inviting the news media. We’re not inviting the police,” he said.
Brinkley said the meeting will focus on initiating an open, honest dialogue between the two groups about the source of the feud and why it continues to be important to them. The gathering will also be the grounds for generating solutions from the youth that could realistically ease the ongoing tensions.
It will be less about pointing fingers, and more focused on the future.
“My thing is to challenge them with where they’re at. They don’t have to answer to me. You answer to yourself and there’s a lot of people that don’t know there is a self,” said Brinkley.