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July 10, 2023

First man killed by Kingsessing gunman was shot 2 days before mass shooting, investigators say

Joseph Wamah Jr., 31, was found 48 hours after Kimbrady Carriker allegedly shot him to death, the District Attorney's Office said

Investigations Mass Shootings
Mass Shooting Update Thom Carroll/For PhillyVoice

Kimbrady Carriker allegedly killed Joseph Wamah Jr. about 44 hours before carrying out the mass shooting at 56th Street and Chester Avenue on July 3, which left four other dead, investigators say.

One of the five people believed to have been killed in the mass shooting in Kingsessing last week actually was shot to death nearly two days prior, investigators said Sunday. 

Forensic evidence shows that Joseph Wamah Jr., 31, died at 12:30 a.m. on July 2, according to the District Attorney's Office. That's about 48 hours before his body was found by relatives and 44 hours before the alleged gunman opened fire at 56th Street and Chester Avenue, killing four people and injuring four others. 

The information provides a significant change to the timeline of the mass shooting, but it does not change any of the charges faced by Kimbrady Carriker, 40, who is being held without bail. Carriker was charged Wednesday with five counts of first-degree murder, five counts of attempted murder and other related offenses.

Police told the Inquirer on Sunday that they responded to a 911 call for reports of gunfire on Wamah's block on July 2. But officers were dispatched to the wrong address — the 1600 block of North 56th Street, rather than South 56th Street — and did not find evidence that a shooting had taken place. 

On July 3, Carriker allegedly fired at least 50 shots at random near 56th Street and Chester Avenue at 8:30 p.m., police said. Four people – Lashyd Merrit, 20, Dymir Stantom, 29, Ralph Moralis, 59, and Da'Juan Brown, 15 — were killed.

Two children, ages 2 and 13, sustained gunshot wounds to their legs. Two other people, including the 2-year-old's mother and her other 2-year-old son, were injured by glass. 

Carriker, who allegedly was wearing a ski mask and bulletproof vest while carrying an AR-15-style rifle, handgun, multiple magazines and a police scanner, was chased by police and taken into custody on the 1600 block of South Frazier Street. 

Carriker allegedly had exhibited alarming social media behavior before the shooting, including posting a video advertisement for a tactical weapons accessories company the morning of the shooting and posting numerous times about perceived "loss of freedoms," investigators said last week.  

In one post, he claimed community elders were "influencing the youth negatively. They are without a doubt promoting and participating in robbing, prostitution, scamming, and murder." Carriker allegedly told police he carried out the shooting "to clean up the neighborhood," CNN reported. 

"The grieving family of the deceased has been briefed on this new information, and I cannot express enough the sorrow I feel — and that surely all the officers and detectives working on this investigation must feel — that these developments may be confusing and re-traumatizing for Mr. Wamah's loved ones," Krasner said in a press release Sunday. 

The investigation remains ongoing.