With the year-to-date homicide rate down 40 percent in the first six weeks of 2013, the year seemed to be off to a quiet start.
But the temporary calm was shattered after at least nine people were shot – two of them fatally – in a little over 24 hours Monday through Tuesday.
“Obviously, we’re very concerned any time there’s any crime,” Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said on Wednesday outside James Logan Elementary School in North Philadelphia, where he was slated to give a talk about Black History Month.
“Yesterday’s killing of a woman in a domestic-related homicide was particularly troubling, but we do have a suspect in custody.”
Mother of four Jennifer Fitzpatrick, 37, was shot and killed Tuesday morning outside her home on the 500 block of South Yewdall Street, near 54th Street and Larchwood Avenue.
“It was just senseless,” Fitzpatrick’s mother Colleen said Wednesday. “She was my best friend and I was her best friend.”
Police on Tuesday arrested Fitzpatrick’s employer and on-again off-again boyfriend of eight years, 61-year-old Anthony Alexander. They caught up with the man outside a West Philadelphia auto shop he owns.
Fitzpatrick’s mother said her daughter was working there as she prepared to re-enter the medical field. “She had a job interview [Tuesday] morning,” she said.
“She was just getting on with her life and taking care of her kids. She was a loving, beautiful person and I’m going to miss her.”
Colleen Fitzpatrick, who retired from the Philadelphia School District in October, said her daughter shared one young son with Alexander and was also mother to a second boy, as well as two teenage daughters.
“My concentration is going to be on these kids,” she said. “I’m going to see that they’re raised and taken care of as long as I can.”
Fitzpatrick recently obtained a restraining order against Alexander, according to court documents. She was reportedly trying to escape from their romantic relationship.
Fitzpatrick’s mother said the man was well-known to the family, but declined to provide too much detail regarding her relationship. “He’s been arrested,” she said. “And now he’ll get what’s coming to him.”
Alexander, who didn’t have a criminal history prior to the slaying, was arraigned yesterday. He is charged with murder, violation of a protection order, possessing an instrument of crime, reckless endangerment and simple assault.
Alexander is being held without bail and is next due in court on March 13 for a preliminary hearing.
The casualties of this week’s crime wave include:
>> 4:30 p.m. Monday. A 20-year-old man was shot in the leg and a 12-year-old boy was grazed by a bullet fragment on the 900 block of West Duncannon Avenue in Logan.
>> 2 a.m. Tuesday. A 46-year-old man was shot six times near Marshall and Venango streets in Franklinville.
>> 8:05 a.m. Fitzpatrick was shot and killed outside her home on the 500 block of South Yewdall Street in West Philadelphia.
>> 12:20 p.m. A 28-year-old man was shot in the hand on the 6100 block of Greene Street in Germantown.
>> Tuesday afternoon. Two men in their 20s were reportedly shot in two separate incidents in Fairhill and West Oak Lane.
>> 8 p.m. Miguel Gonzalez, 23, was shot multiple times in the chest near Hancock and Dauphin streets in North Philadelphia and died at Temple University Hospital. Police believe the crime may have been drug-related.
>> 10:15 p.m. A 21-year-old man was shot in the back at 18th Street and Ogontz Avenue.
>> 10:20 p.m. A 29-year-old man was shot once in the face and twice in the chest on the 1300 block of South Cleveland Street in Point Breeze. Police said the victim was able to drive himself to the 17th District police station about a half mile away, but is currently hospitalized in critical condition.