Last Monday, a 21-year-old female Temple student was found dead in her apartment on Park Avenue near York Street. Now, police are looking into the case as a possible homicide.
A Philadelphia Police spokeswoman, Officer Leeloni Palmiero—who said the incident was originally being investigated as a suicide—told The Temple News Friday that the department’s Homicide Unit viewed the shooting as “suspicious” and the investigation is still ongoing.
The investigation has not yet been completed, and may take a few weeks, Executive Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone said.
“Homicide is reaching out still and doing interviews, and circling back through information,” Leone said. “They’re reviewing all their records related to the investigation.”
Philadelphia Police responded to the 2300 block of N. Park Avenue early Aug. 31, and was alerted en route to the location that a shooting had occurred. When police arrived, they found the woman with a black semi-automatic handgun under her hand, Palmiero said Friday. Paramedics pronounced her dead in her bedroom about 12:35 a.m. Monday, Palmiero added.
Leone said a TU Alert wasn’t issued to the university community because it was outside of Temple Police’s jurisdiction, and that those involved in the shooting were being questioned immediately afterward.
“We issue a TU Alert only if it’s a danger to the community,” he said. “The boyfriend was brought to Central Detectives … and they recovered the gun, so at the time there was no immediate threat.”
In terms of filing charges and arresting a suspect in relation to the shooting, Leone said the Homicide Unit still has to gather its evidence and present it to the city’s District Attorney’s office if they have a case.
Students interviewed at the building where the shooting occurred said Friday that they didn’t know the female that well, but added there was some confusion surrounding the incident.
“I didn’t know her that well,” said Nichole Feuillet, a senior biology major. “But I was also wondering at the time, ‘Why wouldn’t police tell us what was going on?”
Senior ceramics major Patrick Hargraves said he was in apartment inside the building when the shooting occurred.
“I’ve just been shocked, at first I didn’t know what happened,” Hargraves told The Temple News. “It was crazy … she’s always been quiet, and kept to herself most of the time.”
Leone said he didn’t know exactly how many people were in the apartment at the time of the incident, but added it was around “only two to three” people.
Hargraves said he was interviewed by two homicide detectives about the incident last week, who told him the case had been deemed suspicious because of the angle of the fired bullet. Palmeiro told The Temple News Friday that police found a bullet hole in the ceiling of the woman’s apartment, and a shell casing was recovered along with the gun at the scene.
Leone said the angle of the bullet was one of the reasons the Homicide Unit started to look closer at the case.
“One issue was the trajectory of the bullet,” he said. “That’s why they have a great forensics team to look into it, and why this might take some time.”
Leone added that although Philadelphia Police has taken the lead in the case, Temple Police has helped contribute to the investigation.
“If it involves a student, we do help gather information,” he said. “We pass it on to Homicide, along with helping to coordinate interviews with those involved or close to the incident.”
A spokesman from the department’s Homicide Unit declined to comment on the investigation Friday, citing the unit’s policy to not discuss active investigations with the media. Philadelphia Police’s Office of Public Affairs could not be reached for comment Monday.
Tipsters should contact Philadelphia Police’s Homicide Unit at 215-686‑3334 or -3335.
Steve Bohnel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Steve_Bohnel.