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June 09, 2022

Two teens charged with murder for allegedly killing bystanders in South Street shooting

Qaadir Dukes-Hill and Nahjee Whittington opened fire amid the chaos that followed a nearby gunfight, investigators said

Investigations Shootings
South Street Shooting Arrests Thom Carroll/For PhillyVoice

Quadir Dukes-Hill, 18, and Nahjee Whittington, 17, each were charged with murder in connection to the South Street shooting on June 4. They were arrested by U.S. Marshals in Richmond, Virginia.

Two teenagers who allegedly fired shots into a panicked crowd Saturday on South Street, killing two bystanders, have been charged with murder and related offenses, Philadelphia officials said Thursday. 

Qaadir Dukes-Hill, 18, of Drexel Hill, Delaware County, and Nahjee Whittington, 17, of Philadelphia, were taken into custody by U.S. Marshals in Richmond, Virginia at approximately 12:15 p.m. Thursday. Both teens are awaiting extradition to Philadelphia, where they will be held without bail. 

Dukes-Hill and Whittington are the last people wanted in connection to the South Street shooting, which killed three people and wounded 12 others. Everyone believed to be responsible for the violence are in custody, police said. 

Dukes-Hill was charged in the death of Alexis Quinn, 24, a home health aide from Philadelphia, officials said. Whittington is charged in the death of Kristopher Minners, 22, a residential advisor at Girard College, and the non-fatal shooting of another victim. 

A fatal gunfight broke out around 11:30 p.m. Saturday on the 200 block of South Street, a popular nightlife destination, prompting people in the area to panic. Dukes-Hill and Whittington appeared to shoot randomly into this crowd, striking bystanders, investigators said. 

There is no indication they were connected to the people involved in the gunfight, police said. 

Earlier this week, the Philadelphia Police Department released  surveillance images labeling Dukes-Hill as a "person of interest." This led to an influx of calls to the department's anonymous tip line, police said.

Dukes-Hill and Whittington appear to be friends and fled to Virginia together, investigators said. They were arrested without conflict at an apartment complex in Richmond. 

"I cannot be any prouder of the individuals who worked around the clock to make this happen," Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said during a press conference Thursday afternoon. "This is something that shook our city to its core, and there are a lot of questions — even today — a lot of people asking 'why.'" 

The initial gunfight emanated from a physical altercation between several men in front of the Rita's Italian Ice shop on South Street, police said. A video of the fight circulated on social media earlier this week.

During the altercation, Gregory "Japan" Jackson opened fire on Micah Towns, who returned fire, killing Jackson, investigators said. 

There were 17 shots fired between them, prosecutors said. Both had a license to carry. Towns was critically wounded. 

District Attorney Larry Krasner said his office will not charge Towns because he was acting in self defense. This decision irked Mayor Jim Kenney. At a virtual gun violence briefing, Kenney said anyone who fired a gun on South Street should be locked up – even Towns. 

Earlier this week, Rashaan Vereen and Quran Garner were taken into custody in connection to the shooting. 

Vereen, 34, was with Jackson during the altercation believed to have been the "genesis" of the shooting, investigators have said. He was arrested by U.S. Marshals and charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and related charges. 

Garner, 18, believed to be a friend of Towns, allegedly opened fire in response to the gunfight. After a police officer shot him in the hand, he dropped his weapon and fled down American Street, investigators said. He has been charged with aggravated assault and weapons offenses.