Arrest made in Temple student murder

January 4, 2013 6:03:03 PM PST
Police say they have arrested 22-year-old Lawrence Jeffries in connection with the murder of a Temple student on New Year's day.

The incident happened just after 3:30 a.m. in the 1700 block of Venango Street in the Tioga-Nicetown section of Philadelphia.

Police say Jeffries was looking for his sister at a house party early Tuesday morning when he opened fire on three men.

Police believe the shooting was sparked by an argument.

In a Temple University Hospital bed, 22-year-old Kyle Morris is in pain but alive Friday after being shot six times on New Year's Day. He was brought to the hospital in critical condition.

He and his close friend, Stephen Kirey Johnson, were attending the party on North Venago when they say two strangers walked in and sparked an argument.

There were three homicides in the first three hours of the New Year.

This was the second deadly incident for one family.

"It didn't matter," said Movita Johnson-Harrell. "You can't move away from the problem."

Two years ago, Movita Johnson-Harrell's son Charles was gunned down in a case of mistaken identity. Four days ago, her cousin Stephen Kirey Johnson was gunned down by man he did not know.

"The next thing you know one guy pulls out gun and just begins to open fire, and Kirey and two other young men are shut, and Kirey didn't make it," said Montiva Johnson-Harrell.

Morris told Action News how he watched his friend collapse and die, and how another friend pulled him down to the floor to avoid to being hit a 7th time.

Morris graduated with honors from Cheyney University. Among his skills he blends poetry and music to steer kids away from violence.

His Father hopes for justice as he processes the senseless violent act.

"We just want whatever justice is going to be served, let the system handle that. We don't want any retaliation. I am already working on forgiving, as soon as I get pass some of my hurt and my anger," said Kyle Morris.

Johnson was described as kind, funny and a high achiever. He was due to graduate from Temple this spring; his immediate goal, a naval commission.

"A 23-year-old young man graduate from Fox business school at Temple, worked a full time job as an ambulance dispatcher, so he was very, very focused at 23 years old," said Montiva.

A viewing is scheduled for Johnson Friday night. His funeral will be held on Saturday.

The third unidentified victim was taken to Einstein Medical Center and is listed in stable condition.

Jeffries was arrested on Wednesday and charged with murder.