A prayer — “We come to you in shock and grief and confusion of heart” — marked the spot of a small memorial tacked onto an old garage door where four teens were shot, three of them fatally, in the rear driveway of a Juniata Park home Tuesday night.
“Usually things happen around here with older kids,” said a woman on the 1500 block of Luzerne Street, where the massacre occurred. “These boys were so young — babies.”
Seven teenagers packed into a car and drove to the spot around 10:30 p.m., where they expected to meet three brothers for a prearranged fistfight. Instead, they were approached by a 30-year-old Hispanic male, who police believe to be the brothers’ stepfather, Axel Barreto. He allegedly fired 10 rounds into the car.
Javier Orlandi, 16, and Joshua Soto, 14, were shot multiple times and died at St. Christopher’s Hospital shortly before 11 p.m. Dante Lugo, 14, was shot in the back of the head and remained on life support through yesterday evening, but succumbed to his injuries overnight
The 16-year-old driver, who took the others to the hospital despite a gunshot wound to the neck, is stable.
A U.S Marshals Fugitive Task Force arrested Barreto last night without incident.
He was taken into custody at a Bensalem motel shortly before 10 p.m. and turned over to police.
Childhood friend Richie Irizarry and his mother visited the Kensington home of Alfredo Orlandi yesterday to give their condolences to the slain boy’s father.
“He was smart, strong and a good wrestler,” Irizarry said. He said that he had never known Orlandi to be involved in any kind of violent activity. “That just wasn’t him.”
“Whoever did it, I would say to them, ‘Why?’” Alfredo said. “They didn’t think what they were doing.”
It all escalated on Facebook
The two groups had an ongoing beef that began at Mariana Bracetti Academy Charter School in Kensington, where many of them were students, Clark said. He could not comment on the exact nature of the fight, other than that they were from different neighborhoods.
“There was a lot of back and forth on Facebook, as far as taunting and threatening,” he said.
The killings brought the new year’s homicide total to 14 in its first 11 days. Five were killed and three critically injured on Tuesday alone.
“We’ve obviously had a lot of violence on the streets of our city over the last 24 hours,” said Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.