Philadelphia teen charged in four homicides, including man killed on prison grounds

The Associated Press
Police logo

PHILADELPHIA — A Philadelphia teenager has been charged in four homicides, including a Christmas Eve slaying caught live on social media and what authorities believe was the mistaken-identity killing of a man gunned down on prison grounds shortly after he was released on bail.

Police said the 16-year-old had been arrested March 20 and charged in the Dec. 24 killing of 20-year-old Dyewou Nyshawn Scruggs, who was found with multiple gunshots on a west Philadelphia street and died less than 15 minutes before Christmas Day.

The following day, he was charged in a March 11 quadruple shooting in west Philadelphia that had claimed the lives of 24-year-old Naquon Smith and 16-year-old Tamir Brown and critically wounded two 19-year-old men.

Last week, the teenager was charged in the early morning slaying of 20-year-old Rodney Hargrove on March 18 that had occurred only moments after the victim had been released from the Curran Fromhold Correctional Facility. Police said Hargrove was shot multiple times while waiting for transportation home from the jail.

"At this time, it appears that Mr. Hargrove was a tragic victim of mistaken identity," police said Wednesday.

Prison officials announced new safety measures after the slaying, with Prisons Commissioner Blanche Carney saying officials remained "shocked and horrified" by the killing.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Hargrove was dropped off at a bus station near the jail, as was standard practice, and was waiting for relatives to pick him up when a car began pursuing him. He ran back to prison grounds but was shot to death by someone in the vehicle.

Officials said more security cameras and license plate readers were being installed in the area, and they were talking with legal counsel about reconsidering 24-hour bail processing. In addition, officials were considering paying for ride sharing services when public transportation is not available late at night.

After the Christmas Eve slaying, a Frankford High School football coach told WTXF-TV that Scruggs, a former player, was streaming live on social media at the time of the shooting. He said his players had seen it and were devastated.

"Kids lost a friend, they lost a brother, they lost a teammate," Bill Sytsma said.

The 16-year-old defendant faces numerous charges in the slayings, including homicide, attempted homicide, aggravated assault, conspiracy, reckless endangering and multiple firearms crimes. Messages seeking comment were left Sunday with two attorneys representing him in the cases.