Man killed in attempted motorcycle theft identified

May 10, 2011 9:17:26 PM PDT
Police have identified the man who was shot and killed during the attempted robbery of a motorcycle in North Philadelphia on Monday evening.

The victim is 22-year-old Mohan Varughese, a Penn State student who was formerly enrolled at Temple University.

Family and friends gathered at the Ascension Marthoma Church in Northeast Philadelphia Tuesday night to share their misery over the murder of Varughese.

The incident took place around 5:30 p.m. along the 2200 block of North Camac Street near Temple.

Witness Tanina Tindley was sitting on her porch Monday night when Varughese rode up on his motorcycle and sat down on the stoop across the street with his girlfriend.

"They were sitting on the stoop spending quality time as a boyfriend and girlfriend would do, and I came in the house to take a shower and when I came back out he was laying on the ground and the girlfriend was screaming for help," Tindley said.

Varughese was shot three times in the head and chest. He was pronounced dead at Temple University Hospital.

Police say a gunman had suddenly appeared and went right up to the 23-year-old.

"He went to the individual he believed was the owner of the motorcycle, put a gun right in his face, and told him 'give me the keys,' which time, the decedent didn't move quick enough, I guess, for him and he unloaded a barrage of shots into his chest and into his head," Captain James Clark of the Philadelphia Police Department said.

Police say the gunman fled on foot. He is described as a dark-skinned black male, roughly 5'10, having a thin build, and tattoos on his neck and chest with a teardrop tattoo under his left eye.

Mohan Varughese was due to graduate from Penn State this week with a degree in psychology.

He leaves behind a twin brother, Matthew. His family and friends gathered at the family house Tuesday to offer condolences and support to his mother.

"I just can't believe someone could do this to such a wonderful person," a neighbor told Action News.

Authorities are scouring potential surveillance video in the area of the shooting.

They expect to release a composite sketch of the suspect tomorrow.

Police are asking for the public's help in identifying the suspect.