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October 04, 2023

Frankford man charged as motorcyclist who smashed car's window, aimed gun at driver in Center City

Cody Heron, 26, faces aggravated assault and other offenses

Crime Assaults
city-hall-motorcyclist-assault.png PHILADELPHIA POLICE DEPARTMENT/YOUTUBE

Cody Heron, the man suspected of vandalizing a car and threatening its driver near City Hall on Sunday, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, authorities say.

The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office on Wednesday identified the motorcyclist charged with smashing the rear windshield of a car occupied by a woman and her two children in Center City and threatening the woman with a gun.

Cody Heron, 26, of Frankford, is charged with multiple counts of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and related offenses, authorities said during a press conference Wednesday afternoon. The incident took place Sunday night near City Hall and was recorded on video.

Deputy Police Commissioner Frank Vanore first announced Heron's arrest in a tweet posted before 6:30 a.m. Wednesday. He credited "great tips from the public and outstanding detective work" for helping police locate the man, who lives in the city's Frankford neighborhood. The video of the incident went viral after being posted by an Instagram user, and by a day later, Vanore said tips "came flooding in."

Sometime after the Sunday night's assault, Heron is believed to have altered his social media accounts, posting photos of himself using a different name, which for a time complicated the search. "The original tips gave us a name that led us to New Jersey," Vanore said. "That was completely false."

Police were not sure whether Heron made up the name, and it happened to belong to someone else in the region, or whether he purposely used that identity to lead investigators astray. Heron's real online footprint eventually was tracked by social media experts within the department's criminal intelligence unit.

With Heron identified, police obtained a search warrant for his address in Frankford on Tuesday. They found evidence there, including clothing, a 9mm firearm registered to Heron and the bike in the video, police said.

The assault of the driver and her passengers near City Hall occurred around 8:45 p.m. Sunday when a group on motorcycles, dirt bikes and ATVs filled the street at the intersection of South Broad Street. Cars were stopped at a traffic light near 1400 S. Penn Square, among them was the red Ford Fusion driven by Nikki Bullock.

Bullock had her 2-year-old and 5-year-old in the car's back seat. There also was as another adult in the vehicle, Vanore said. Bullock had been working delivering food when one of the motorcycles at the light collided with her Ford.

"They’re not paying attention to lanes. They’re just doing whatever," Bullock told NBC10 about the bikers and ATV riders. "So, I’m turning in the lane and he just hits the side of the car."

Video of the incident that was posted to social media and released by police begins with a motorcycle rider, who investigators said is Heron, standing on the trunk of Bullock's car, kicking at the back window then jumping on it and smashing through the glass. Bullock gets out of the car and confronts Heron, who is seen picking up a handgun, which had fallen out of his pants onto the street while he was on the car's trunk.

Heron points the gun at Bullock, and as their argument continues he headbutts Bullock while still wearing his motorcycle helmet.

Bullock reported the incident to police in South Philadelphia. Authorities said they learned about the video a short time later.

"I did get the opportunity to speak to the mother," Kevin Bentancur, a assistant district attorney in D.A.'s office, said at Wednesday afternoon's briefing. "She was in shock. I asked her how she was doing, how she's been holding up. And it's been a lot. This being all over the news and everywhere has really been tough. She told me that her children are having a lot of issues sleeping, just a lot of nightmares coming through with this incident."

NOTE: This story was updated later Wednesday after the briefing by the Philadelphia District Attorney' Office and Philadelphia police.