Police ID women murdered in Grays Ferry

January 21, 2008 4:42:04 PM PST
Philadelphia Police have launched an urgent investigation into the fate of a woman who was once a witness to murder and this weekend became a victim of murder. By all accounts, 23-year-old Chante Wright was a brave and loving young woman. It was apparent her loving side that led to her violent death over the weekend.

Chante was gunned down early Saturday in Grays Ferry. Her friend, Octavia Green, was also killed. Chante Wright wasn't supposed to be here at all. She was in the federal witness protection program after agreeing to testify against Hakeem Bey. She is the 2nd witness in the case who's been killed.

The other witness, Omar Morris, was shot dead at 17th and Master on Christmas morning 2002.

Bey is an alleged member of a notorious drug gang involved in turf wars over gangster rappers. Police say Bey's gang was aligned with rapper Beanie Sigel. Chante was friends with a rival rapper. She was out with him and friends celebrating a record deal when one of her friends was gunned down, allegedly by Bey.

When Morris was killed, police needed Wright's testimony. She was relocated to Jacksonville, Florida with her 4-year-old son. Friends and relatives say she had a hard time because her beloved great grandmother had become gravely ill. Chante couldn't ignore the tight bond, and came back to Philadelphia to visit - A visit that had taken a turn for the worse.

She was gunned down less than 7 hours after returning home. She broke the rules of the protection program and paid with her life.

Mayor Michael Nutter campaigned on a pledge to lower the murder rate. Despite Chante's death he says witnesses need to stand up and come forward.

We are withholding the names of family members and friends because they too fear retaliation. They say Chante loved her family and she wanted a bright future for her son, working 6 days a week and attending classes in Florida.

The family is devastated, and police have 2 more murder cases, possibly connected to a string of murders that goes back 8 years now.