A homeless man was evicted from a Philadelphia homeless shelter, but returned the next day to gather his belongings. When he returned, he came with a weapon, shooting two employees. One employee was fatally shot and died from the gunshot wounds, the other employee was taken to the hospital. The 32-year-old homeless man has been identified by the surviving victim; however, he is still on the loose.
Fox 29 News reports that a homeless man was evicted from the Philadelphia Station House shelter on Friday night for being intoxicated. The man left that night, but returned the next day for his belongings. As he entered the shelter to retrieve his items he opened fire on employees. One employee was shot in the hip, while a second employee was shot in the head. The employee shot in the head who has not been identified, but was in his 40s was pronounced dead on the scene. The second employee, a 26-year-old man, was taken to the hospital and identified the gunman.
— Action News on 6abc (@6abc) January 17, 2016
Though the employee knew the gunman from the shelter, police has still not apprehended the suspect. The homeless man said to be 32-year-old is still on the loose with police claiming he is likely armed and dangerous. The employee says the man entered the shelter wearing a green hoodie and black skull cap with jeans. Following the shooting he allegedly fled behind the building down the train tracks.
The former mayor Wilson Goode praised the worker who was shot as well as the injured man claiming that they were both dedicated employees. Goode’s organization SELF, Inc operations the Station House shelter where the murder took place.
“I don’t think you could have found more dedicated employees, more concerned employees, more compassionate and passionate employees about what they do. They love their work and people who work with them love them.”
According to the Daily Mail, the former mayor says that those entering the shelter are normally patted down before entering. However, the homeless man entered the building with food service workers so skipped past the check-in point. Following the horrifying incident, Wilson notes that security measures at the shelter are being reexamined.
— FOX 29 (@FOX29philly) January 17, 2016
Marie Nahikian, director of the city Office of Supportive Housing points out that cases of murder like this are extremely rare in homeless shelters and she hopes it does not deter people who need shelter from seeking help.
“We’re very, very, very concerned; this is not something that happens in the city of Philadelphia’s shelters for people experiencing homelessness. It’s a very unusual situation.”
The Station House shelter is described on the SELF, Inc website as “an emergency shelter and after hour intake site providing client service case management, a computer lab, and residential services for 99 men.” There is no word currently on the new safety measures that will be implemented in the facility, only that incidents such as these are rare and “complicated.”
Man Evicted From Homeless Shelter Shoots 2, 1 Dead: PHILADELPHIA—A man who had been evicted… https://t.co/mMKPiNep2e
— BeautyCribTV (@beautycrib_tv) January 17, 2016
Mayor Jim Kenney is encouraging the homeless community to continue to use the facilities and notes that a “code blue” is in effect for the area meaning that the temperatures are dropping and staying outside in the cold could be deadly. With a “code blue” in effect, city officials and police officers are given the go ahead to bring homeless people to shelters when they encounter them on the streets.
What do you think of the homeless shelter shooting? What security measures aside from pat-downs should be put in place to protect not only employees but those temporarily residing in the shelters?
[Image via Shutterstock/ carl ballou]