We’ve previously reported on two tragic shootings in Philadelphia, where an 11-month old baby and a two-year old girl were both shot in separate incidents in recent days. Now police have arrested a man they say is a key link in both of the shootings, and he’s well known to cops in the city.
The alleged gunman arrested for shooting 11-month-old Yazeem Jenkins in North Philadelphia last weekend may have supplied the AK-47 used in a separate shooting of 2-year-old Nikolette Rivera, Philadelphia police said Friday.
Francisco Ortiz, 29, was taken into police custody Thursday and will be charged with attempted murder for shooting Jenkins, police said.
He is also a “prime suspect” in a Sept. 18 homicide in Northeast Philadelphia, officials announced Friday. That shooting was not drug related but instead a domestic dispute, according to police.
Investigators believe Ortiz, who has 17 prior arrests, allegedly supplied Freddie Perez and Tavon Thomas with the gun used to kill Rivera in Kensington Sunday afternoon.
17-prior arrests for Ortiz, and he was released from prison in January after serving at least a portion of a ten-year prison sentence. Even before these particular crimes, Ortiz had been picked up on a gun charge, but was able to post bond for some reason. The Philadelphia District Attorney’s office isn’t saying much about that aspect of the case, but the head of the office’s homicide unit, Anthony Voci, did have some harsh words for the parents of Yazeem Jenkins and Nikolette Rivera.
“Some of the parents of these two children are responsible for the death and severe injuried caused to their children,” he added. “They engaged in narcotics behavior – narcotics transactions, narcotics operations. They put their children in harm’s way.”
Jenkins was struck four times by bullets: once in the head, once in the neck and twice in the buttocks, police said. He is not expected to fully recover from his wounds, a detective told reporters Monday.
Rivera was shot once in the back of the head while her mother was shot once in the right side of the head and once in the back. A contractor working inside the home was also shot in the stomach.
Voci has a point, but his boss also has a few things to answer for as well. District Attorney Larry Krasner has been taking a soft-on-crime approach to gang and drug-related violence in Philadelphia, and while I think there’s a good case that can be made for diverting first-time non-violent gun offenders to diversion programs instead of putting them in prison, I have a very hard time with the fact that Ortiz, the repeat violent offender who had been released from state prison just a few months prior, was let out on bond after being caught with a gun. If Krasner’s office didn’t want to take this guy seriously, they could have referred the case to the feds for prosecution. U.S. Attorney William McSwain has ripped Krasner for not being more zealous in his prosecutions, and here’s another example of a career criminal able to escape his jail cell through the revolving door of the Philadelphia criminal justice system.