Campaign Volunteer Shot Dead Moments After Speaking With Candidate

by | April 26, 2016 AT 11:30 AM

By Chris Palmer

A 21-year-old man was shot and killed in the city's Cedarbrook section Sunday afternoon just after speaking with a state House candidate about volunteering on his campaign, according to officials.

The victim, whom police did not identify Sunday, had just talked to Democratic candidate Chris Rabb when a man approached and shot him twice in the back of the head, according to Chris Visco, Rabb's campaign manager.

Police said the shooter fled the scene at 1400 Vernon Rd. and headed south on Fayette Street. The shooter had not been caught Sunday, according to police.

Commissioner Richard Ross said Sunday night that it appeared the victim was the intended target.

Visco said Rabb and another campaign worker -- both of whom witnessed the shooting but were not injured -- were still speaking with detectives Sunday evening and were in shock. "The [victim] had been shot, execution-style, blood gushing everywhere," said Visco, who spoke to Rabb by phone after the shooting. "Chris is devastated."

Visco said the victim died with a piece of campaign literature in his hand. He had told Rabb he was set to be a poll worker for Tuesday's primary, Visco said, but after speaking with Rabb outside a convenience store Sunday, he expressed interest in volunteering on the campaign.

Rabb, an adjunct professor at Temple University's Fox School of Business, is vying for a seat in the 200th District, which covers Chestnut Hill and Mount Airy. Tonyelle Cooks-Artis, longtime chief of staff to former Democratic State Rep. Cherelle Parker, won a special election in that district last month and is running to retain her seat. Bobby Curry is also running on the Democratic side, according to the City Commissioners Office.

The victim was pronounced dead at 3:48 p.m., police said.

About four hours later, at 7:30 p.m., a man believed to be in his 20s was shot and killed on the 8000 block of Temple Road -- just around the corner from the first shooting. Police did not identify the victim and reported no arrests.

Ross said that shooting appeared to be in retaliation for the earlier incident. He said police would patrol the neighborhood to try to prevent any additional violence. "We're going to continue to do what we do and hopefully try to save lives," he said. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the homicide unit at 215-686-3334.

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