Yeadon police continue investigating a brutal assassinationlike killing that left a young couple dead at the scene of a social club late Saturday night and a West Philadelphia man in police custody. Sources tell The SPIRIT that as many as three other suspects may also be involved.
Police say late Saturday, shortly before midnight, shots rang out following a birthday party at The Social Space, a rental banquet hall in the 700 block of Church Lane. When police arrived, they found two victims in the municipal parking lot near the facility, dead from multiple gunshot wounds. They also found “in excess of 60 fired cartridge casings… on, under and around the victims’ bodies.”
While checking parked vehicles within 15 yards of the victims, police said, they discovered a suspect they identified as Nazir Zahid Anderson, 19, of the 4100 block of Parrish St., lying across the rear bench seat of a black Chevy Impala. They told him to “show his hands” and get out of the car. Police said Anderson was wearing a single blue latex glove and a face covering. They said they also found a black 9mm Baretta in his waistband and live ammunition in the loaded gun. Anderson was charged with two counts each of criminal homicide, first degree murder, third degree murder, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, and one count of carrying an unlicensed firearm. “This was a brutal, cold-blooded execution. The victims, a young man and woman both in the early 20s, were unarmed when gunned down by multiple shooters who fired into their prone bodies after being felled by gunshots. Law enforcement is working to bring the killers to justice as this simply cannot happen in a peaceable community like Yeadon Borough,” said District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer.
Police sources say video cameras located around the marijuana dispensary on Church Lane could prove vital to their investigation. That facility has been a target of some community leaders who have staged public protests against it. Borough zoning officials approved the facility, but opposing Council leaders voted to renege the approval and owners of the facility have filed a multimillion lawsuit against the borough. The facility remains open while the case is appealed.
Mayor Rohan Hepkins, a proponent of the facility, said, “Isn’t it ironic that a place some people didn’t want, becomes the very place that helps keep the community safe.” He said anti-dispensary forces and supporters of The Social Spot were among the loudest voices calling for the removal of fired police Chief Anthony “Chachi” Paparo.
Hepkins said Paparo kept an effective check on the nuisance climate that often defined The Social Spot. He said there have been zero complaints against the dispensary, but “many, many complaints about The Social Spot” attracting bad actors into the community. Complaints, he said, include loud noise late into the night and double-parked cars.
Hepkins said, “It’s ironic that law enforcement has to ask the dispensary to help us solve crime from The Social Space.” He said borough officials may have to consider stronger curfew provisions. He said current curfew law applies to individuals and small groups, but that commercial entertainment spaces “are usually outside of curfews unless (there’s a) threat to public safety. I may ask Council to weigh in on that.”
He reiterated that, “Chachi did a good job of policing that area. The owners didn’t like him coming down on the place, (but) the evidence is incontrovertible— that Chachi was effective in his job. A lot of our peace (in the community) has seemed to have fled with his departure.”
A call to the borough manager seeking comment from him or any other authorized spokesman was not returned by press time.