The two brothers who allegedly killed a Philly dad and neighborhood activist in a cold-blooded murder last week were both apprehended thanks to coordination with multiple law enforcement agencies and a couple of coincidences, police said Monday.
“Within a little less than 48 hours, we were able to get both suspects in custody and off the streets,” said homicide unit Capt. Jack Ryan. “The men and women in the homicide investigations unit worked tirelessly, all Thursday, Friday, Saturday, through Sunday after the assignment was closed, just tightening matters up.”
Maurice Roberts, 21, and his brother Marvin Roberts, 16, were both arrested in connection with the death of Gerard Grandzol, 38, who was shot to death outside his home on the 1500 block of Melon Street in Spring Garden in a botched robbery after parking his car with his 2-year-old daughter inside.
Grandzol reportedly cooperated with the thieves, handing over his wallet and car keys, but when he asked to get his daughter out of the car, he was shot twice in the face at point-blank range. The suspects then fled, leaving the car behind.
Marvin Roberts is charged as an adult with murder, and he allegedly pulled the trigger.
Ryan said he could not comment on the specifics of the investigation, but he noted that forensic evidence found at the scene led police to charge Maurice Roberts, who had six previous arrests and was on probation for an arrest selling marijuana in Center City. Marvin Roberts was on probation for a Jan. 5 assault case.
Residents’ surveillance systems captured video and audio of the crime. SEPTA police were able to identify the suspects from transit surveillance cameras that caught them hopping on the Broad Street Line after the crime and traveling up to Erie Avenue.
The U.S. Marshal’s office apprehended Maurice Roberts at a hotel in New Jersey on Saturday morning, and he remains in custody in that state.
Marvin Roberts, meanwhile, was recognized near Broad and Venango streets by a police detective on the fugitive apprehension task force on Saturday evening and quickly arrested.
But police remained tight-lipped about further details, pending the prosecutions of the Roberts brothers. “We can’t comment on their confessions,” a police source said when asked if they had admitted to the crime.
Grandzol’s family, which included his wife, a 2-year-old daughter and newborn baby girl, has received an outpouring of community support in the aftermath of his murder, with nearly $200,000 in donations raised on a Gofundme page as of Monday evening.
“It’s terrible, one of the most horrific things I’ve seen in 24 years in the police department,” Ryan said. “It was just a touch of evil.”