Another Philadelphia police officer was accused of disgracing the badge this week by allegedly selling heroin to an undercover informant who was working with the FBI.
On Wednesday, June 20, 2012, Philadelphia Police Officer Jonathan Garcia was indicted by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and charged with four counts of distribution of heroin and two counts of carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime. Garcia is 23-years old and is a 3- year veteran of the department, assigned to the 17th District.
Garcia was arrested at his home Tuesday night and pleaded not guilty during his arraignment on Wednesday. He was being held at the Federal Detention Center in Center City pending a bail hearing scheduled for Friday, June 21st. Commissioner Charles Ramsey has suspended Garcia for 30 days with the intent to dismiss.
Homicide determined in elderly woman’s death
On June 10 responding officers came to the residence of 70-year-old Kathleen McEwan, who appeared to have died of natural causes at 312 Park Avenue. However, during the embalming process, funeral home workers at John Bryers Funeral Home in Willow Grove found several inches of rope and a candy wrapper lodged into McEwan’s throat. The case has now been labeled a homicide and police have made an arrest.
Geraldine Cherry, 49, who resides at the same facility, has been charged with murder and related offenses. Investigators have not released the motive as of Tribune press time.
Reward offered for block party shooting suspect
The city and the Fraternal Order of Police have each contributed toward a $10,000 reward being offered for the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for a shooting last weekend that wounded four people, including a 2-year old girl.
The incident happened on Sunday, June 17 just before 9:30 p.m. in the 4600 block of North 12th Street, near Courtland Street. Groups of people were enjoying a block party when gunfire exploded. Witnesses originally thought someone had touched off firecrackers and quickly realized what they heard was a handgun being fired.
“The little girl was outside and was struck once in the stomach,” said Police Department spokesperson Christine O’Brien said. “She was first taken to Albert Einstein Medical Center where she was stabilized and then transferred to St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, where she was immediately taken in to surgery. A second victim, a 22-year old male was hit in the left leg. He was also taken to Einstein Hospital where he was treated and released.”
A 30-year old male was hit in the left hand and a 24-year old male was grazed on the right leg, and as of Tribune press time, the toddler’s condition has been upgraded. The 24-year old victim reported to police that he saw an unidentified male firing into the crowd from behind a parked car. The gunman got into a silver Crown Victoria and fled the scene. All of the victims were African American and according to investigators, all were innocent bystanders. Police said that they would appreciate any information the public can offer regarding this crime. Police do not yet have a motive or a suspect.
Anyone with information should call the Police Department’s tip line at (215) 686-8477.