Philadelphia police are looking for four suspects who authorities say shot a well-liked member of the community during a carjacking on Sunday, leaving him in critical condition.
Philadelphia police say the shooting happened in the 1400 block of East Cheltenham Avenue just before 5 a.m. after four men approached Raheem Bell, 27, ordering him to surrender his Mercedes-Benz 2015, KYW-TV reported. “They dragged the victim out of his vehicle and then shot him, according to the police,” the outlet said.
Bell was shot in the stomach and the suspects fled with his car, WPVI noted. Bell was taken to Temple University Hospital in critical condition and medical professionals performed surgery on Sunday, news reports said.
“I was shocked because it’s common here now with shootings. They fired left and right here,” a man told KYW-TV.
Neighbor Rose Benoit echoed the sentiments while speaking with WPVI.
“It’s not the safest neighborhood. There’s a lot going on here, but I know myself and the block captain, we really worked on it,” Benoit said.
Nneka Burnett, who is a block captain – meaning she works on the beautification and safety aspects of her neighborhood – spoke to WTFX about Bell.
“He has a beautiful family and comes from a wonderful home and we just want the violence to stop,” she said.
She added that she had known the victim since he was a boy.
“I’ve seen him grow up. He’s a good, upright man. He’s a pillar of our community,” she explained. “Just last Christmas, he held a toy drive for families. unfortunate women who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.”
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner spoke about Bell at a press conference this week, according to KYW-TV.
“He’s a well-known member of the community, very active in the community, and also a volunteer with the city watch,” Krasner said. “We are going to break with our tradition of not mentioning the victim’s name.”
Authorities said the four men may have been behind an attempted carjacking near Summerdale Avenue and Bridge Street shortly after forcibly taking Bell’s car, according to WPVI. Law enforcement said someone opened fire on a suspect, but no injuries were reported.
Another carjacking attempt took place in the 1400 block of Cheltenham Avenue, where a blue Honda was targeted, but investigators have not revealed whether the alleged robbery attempt was related to Sunday’s incidents, reports the media.
Bell’s silver Mercedes license plate is LFD-2466, and anyone with information regarding the incidents is asked to contact 215-686-TIPS (8477).