Homicide detectives are questioning two men in connection with a carjacking that ended with the running down of a crowd of five people along a Philadelphia street. Three children, all siblings, who were in the group were killed.
The persons of interest, one 19-years-old and the other in his 20s, were taken into police custody on Sunday. The younger man, identified by his attorney as Jonathan Rosa, turned himself into detectives alongside his mother and their pastor. U.S. Marshals and city police took the older man into custody later that evening, officials said.
Rosa's attorney, Christopher Warren, says his client was in the stolen vehicle that crashed into the group on Friday morning. Rosa is cooperating with detectives to try and "atone" for the crash, the attorney said.
"He turned himself in and he is doing everything in his power to try and atone for what happened last Friday," Warren said. "Quite frankly, he's having an extremely difficult time getting over the image of that 15-year-old girl coming over the hood of the car."
It was around 11:15 a.m. on Friday when a speeding white Toyota 4Runner lost control at Germantown and Allegheny Avenues in the Tioga section of North Philadelphia and ran into the sidewalk. The large SUV, which had been stolen at gunpoint a short time earlier, plowed into five people selling fruit on the corner, police said. They were helping their church raise money to build a playground at the site.
Thomas Reed, 10, his 15-year-old sister, Keiearra Williams, and their 7-year-old brother Terrence Moore were killed, according to police. Their mother, 34-year-old Keisha Williams, and their 65-year-old neighbor Thelma Brown were also hurt.
Keisha Williams has remained in extremely critical condition since the crash. Family and neighbors say she has not been told that her three children are dead. She has two other children who were not at the crash scene. Brown suffered a broken ankle, but should be released from the hospital on Monday.
After running down the group, the SUV then slammed into a tree. The two suspects ran from the scene, but inside the car was its owner. That woman, who police haven't identified, is a realtor who was carjacked at 6th and Cumberland streets before the crash, officials said.
The carjacking victim was also critically hurt, but has been able to speak with police. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said she has been a great help to the investigation.
Sources say detectives have also been relying on forensic evidence -- fingerprints on the the stolen vehicle and a bloody shirt located nearby -- to help narrow down their manhunt.
Rosa told detectives the driver of the stolen SUV swerved to avoid hitting a police officer and lost control, according to Warren.
A post on Rosa's Facebook page from 8:15 a.m. on Friday said "Good and evil two sides fighting for dominance." Later that evening, at 9:42 p.m., Rosa's mother Amanda wrote on his page: "Please pray for Jonathan my son."
Josue Rosa, the man's uncle, tells NBC10.com his nephew is a good kid, without a criminal record, who had just taken a test to join the U.S. Marines. He believes the 19-year-old was pressured by the other suspect to take part in the carjacking.
"I don’t want my nephew to do life in prison. If he was involved, alright. Don’t give my nephew life in prison. He’s not a bad kid. He's not the one who was driving," he said.
Despite Rosa's attorney and family identifying him, police have yet to name either man since they have not been charged. Warren, however, says he expects both men to be charged with second-degree murder.
Ramsey said his investigators are speaking with the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office about filing charges and expect to deliver an announcement at 3:30 p.m. on Monday.
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