Police are investigating an overnight shooting that happened in front of the popular Northern Liberties bar and restaurant PYT, located at The Piazza at Schmidt's.
Authorities said an argument erupted between two groups of people and spilled outside onto the 1000 block of North Hancock Street shortly after midnight.
It was there in The Piazza's courtyard that one man, who investigators described as a six-foot black male in his 20s with a dark complexion wearing a pink and gray shirt, allegedly shot another man at twice in the chest and once in the groin.
The victim, whose identity police have not yet released, is Maurice Kimble, 24, of Upper Darby, sources say.
He was rushed to Hahnemann University Hospital in critical condition,
where he died around 2:30 a.m. The alleged gunman was last seen leaving
the area with a man and two women.
Investigators are reportedly gathering surveillance footage from area businesses and have recovered a gun, believed to be the murder weapon.
Formerly home to an industrial complex, The Piazza was renovated into an open air plaza by developer Bart Blatstein in 2009.
Since then, the hotspot has been home to several high profile homicides.
Event planner Rian Thal, 34, was killed three years ago in the hallway of her apartment above the shops and restaurants at The Piazza in a shooting that also took the life of 40-year-old Detroit man Timothy Gilmore.
Eight people were convicted for their role in that incident, which investigators said was a drug-related robbery gone wrong.
Just last month, a Philadelphia jury convicted Donte Johnson, 20, of murder for his role in the 2010 rape and strangulation death of PYT waitress Sabina Rose O'Donnell. Her body was found in a lot near her apartment on the 400 block of Girard Avenue, about a mile away from the restaurant where she worked.
Residents and workers at The Piazza offered conflicting descriptions of
the neighborhood this morning, telling what amounts to a tale of two cities.
"I heard a bang last night but kind of ignored it," said one woman who lives in the apartments at The Piazza. "There are fireworks that go off at various
times and trucks that come through, so I didn't think much of it."
She said that while crime is not unheard of in the area – "I know this neighborhood only recently became gentrified," she noted – the fact that the shooting occurred inside the courtyard surprised her and her live-in boyfriend.
The couple said that, though the environment inside PYT can become "shady" because it is one of
the only nearby bars open late and sometimes plays music
that draws a rowdy crowd, the apartments are heavily guarded. "The
tower security guards are very good," the woman's boyfriend said. "As a resident, I
"I'm worried less because it seems like it was two people who were
visiting that knew each other," the woman said.
"It's not like someone went on a shooting rampage. The worst I've ever
seen is two dogs get into a fight."
But employees in the neighborhood told a different story. "It's like a
little gated community in the middle of the city," said one building
worker at The Piazza, who asked not to be identified for fear of losing his job. "People here don't go outside
these walls. They don't think anything can happen to them, but crime is everywhere."
"I work at The Piazza and walk waitresses to the parking lot at night," said Jesse Deczynski, who also lives a block away. "This makes me scared for them." Deczynski left his apartment to go out with a group of friends shortly before midnight this morning, missing the shooting by minutes.
"It does get crazy during the night and attracts all types of riff
raff," echoed a nearby kitchen worker, who also asked that his
identity not be revealed. "When I worked at Darling's [Diner] overnight, I used
to see a lot of fist fights, food fighting and sexual interactions at
The Piazza. But a shooting? Never."
"Now that I think about it, it was bound to happen, even though I used
to think security would be too tight," he continued. "It's Philly and
it's getting hot out. People are getting hot and bothered and they don't
know how to act. Things like this happen all over the city – it could
In this case, the victim, who would have turned 25 in about two weeks, is not unknown to
Philadelphia police. Kimble was due in court on July 18 to face allegations of
aggravated assault and reckless endangerment following an arrest in
November, according to court documents. He was also accused of violating the probation handed down to
him in a separate case five years ago.
In that incident, Kimble was charged with criminal conspiracy to commit
robbery inflicting serious bodily injury, theft, assault, reckless
endangerment and firearms offenses. He pleaded guilty to robbery with
the threat of immediate serious injury and was sentenced to a two to
four-year prison term and four years of probation.