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Frankford robbery suspect shot by police was on the street due to a court error

Bernard Rayford, 23, allegedly pointed a gun at police after robbing a man and leading officers on a chase.

Police shot a robbery suspect in Frankford early this morning after he allegedly pointed a gun at officers.

Lt. Ray Evers said that officers with the 15th District were on a patrol at Pratt Street and Frankford Avenue around 3 a.m. "A Hispanic male, 28 years old, comes up to the patrol wagon and he tells the officers he was just robbed by a male named Bernard Rayford," Evers said.

The officers tracked down Rayford about two blocks away down at Pratt and Duffield streets. He allegedly ran, sparking a foot pursuit to the 1600 block of Granite Street. "The officers state that the male pointed a weapon in their direction," Evers said. "Both officers fired one and two times for a total of three, striking the male in the right arm."

Rayford, 23, of the 1800 block of Gillingham Street, was treated and released from Temple University Hospital. Investigators recovered a 9-mm handgun from the scene and Rayford was positively identified as the man involved in the robbery, Evers said. He is charged with assault on an officer, robbery and theft.

According to multiple reports, two other suspects were also taken into custody for their involvement in the initial robbery, though they were not charged in the police-involved shooting. Evers and a spokesperson for the police department said that investigators do not have that information at this time.

Rayford may have been imprisoned were it not for a court error. The man was originally set to be tried on July 11 for charges of marijuana possession, possession of a controlled substance and possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver stemming from an arrest on April 26, according to court documents. But he failed to appear and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest on that date.

The warrant was lifted six days later and Rayford's trial was scheduled for Aug. 8. But on the day proceedings were set to begin, it was discovered that, due to a court error, Rayford had never had the requisite preliminary hearing, documents show. The case was continued and a preliminary hearing was set for Oct. 2.

Rayford was also due in court on Oct. 1 for a status hearing related to an arrest on June 28, after which he was ordered to enroll in a summary diversion program for allegedly obstructing a highway.

The shooting came during an unusually quiet weekend. The only other serious shooting reported so far was one in Olney that left a man in very critical condition yesterday afternoon.

Police said the victim, 24, was shot six times in his upper thigh, back, arm and groin around 3 p.m. on the 5100 block of North 2nd Street. He drove himself to Albert Einstein Medical Center, where he is now fighting for his life. No weapons were recovered and no arrests have yet been made in that case.

Despite the relative lack of weekend bloodshed, the homicide rate is still well outpacing that of recent years past, hitting the 250 mark earlier this week. With 253 victims currently reported, there have been 22 more murders than on this date last year, a 9.5 percent increase.

 
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