Parents shot, 1 dead in Strawberry Mansion

March 5, 2012 3:38:34 PM PST
Police are looking for the gunman who shot a husband and wife inside a home in the Strawberry Mansion section of Philadelphia, killing one of them. It all happened while two young children were in the house.

Family and friends can't understand it.

By all accounts, 35-year-old John Paul, and his wife 39-year-old Sherrell Rhine-Paul, were decent people with no enemies.

Somehow two intruders got into their house this morning.

Sherrell was at the top of the stairs when she was shot 8 to 10 times. John came running.

He was also shot multiple times, several of the shots fired as he lay on the floor.

The commotion woke up the couple's two sons, ages 6 and 13.

The 13-year-old called the police and his grandmother.

"They're devastated, needless to say, so they had to leave the house with what they had on; they had to step over their father to get out of the house, their father laying on the ground," victim's aunt Katherine Smith said.

John was dead on the scene.

Sherrell was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

Police says there were no signs of forced entry and they don't know why this couple may have been targeted.

"They're not known to police nor were they ever known to police in any way, so right now, it's a mystery to us, we don't know why they were targeted," Philadelphia Police Captain James Clark said.

Police believe one of the gunmen was injured, leaving a trail of blood on the sidewalk.

The suspects jumped into a dark car with another man at the wheel.

John Paul's parents spent the day at Sherrell's bedside at the hospital and were helped inside their home this afternoon.

John Paul's older daughter, who dosen't live at home, had no comment.

Friends and neighbors can't make sense of it.

"It's terrible. My stomach is turning cause I know the guy, he's a nice guy," victim's friend Gary Dunmore said.

Anyone with information is asked contact the Philadelphia Police Department at 215-686-TIPS (8477) or at

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