Suspect in double shooting at homeless shelter in custody

NORTH PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The man wanted for killing one homeless shelter worker, and wounding another, is now in police custody.

John Brock, 32, surrendered to police to face charges of Murder and Attempt Murder for the shootings at the Station House Transitional Shelter in North Philadelphia on Sunday morning.

He is accused of killing 43-year-old Edward Barksdale and wounding 26-year-old Lamont Barham.

At a vigil Monday night, family members remembered Barksdale and spoke of the suspect's surrender.

"It's a little weight off our shoulder that he turned himself in, but it's very unfortunate," cousin Jimmy Small said.

"It's not going to bring my cousin back, but I'm happy that the killer turned himself in," cousin Samantha Griffin said.

Barksdale was shot at his desk. He was hit five times, including once in the head, police say.

"He was trying to help and he helped him. So you hurt someone that helped you. This is just a violent crime for someone who is not a violent person," cousin Niemma Giddnes said.
Barksdale's family members say they still cannot believe what happened.

"I am still waiting for him to pop out and say 'I wanted to see who loved me!' That's just who he was, he'd give you the shirt off his back. He loved that job, that shelter was his life," said Giddens earlier.

Barham was shot in the hip while trying to run away. His father, Robert McCurdy, says his son remains in stable condition at Temple University Hospital.

"He just got shot in his hip, but the bullet ended up in his stomach. I didn't do any damage, they were able to fix everything," McCurdy said.

Brock was wearing a green hoodie, a black skullcap, and blue jeans. He was last spotted passing the railroad tracks behind the shelter.

Police say it all began after Brock, who had been living at the shelter for more than two months, was denied entry to the facility at 1 a.m. Saturday for being intoxicated and breaking curfew. He refused to leave and police had to be called to remove him, according to investigators.

They say he returned around 3:15 a.m. Sunday and asked to get his belongings. Barksdale and Barham told him they didn't have access to the room where his belongings were stored.

Police say Brock left, but returned around 6 a.m. and asked if Barksdale and Barham were working. He then allegedly entered the facility, turned to the station where Barksdale and Barham were working, and opened fire.

EMBED More News Videos

Philadelphia Police identify the suspect in a deadly shooting at a homeless shelter.

Family members of both victims say they forgive the gunman, but it will be hard to forget.

"I mean I'm dealing with it, it's hard. I don't want him to see me weak, I've got to be strong for him. But it's hard, it's real hard," McCurdy said.

"This will never be okay. We may find a way to deal with it, but it will never be OK," Giddens said.

The shelter is run by a nonprofit called SELF, Inc., which is directed by former Philadelphia Mayor Wilson Goode.

He says while everyone is normally patted down when they enter the shelter, this suspect entered with food workers. He says security protocols will now be examined.

"We will investigate whatever appropriate means we need to investigate to ensure that our employees and residents are safe in their environment," said Goode.

"I don't think there's anything that could have been done to prevent this," Marie Nahikian, Director of the Office of Supportive Housing, said.

Many residents say they are shaken.

"It's just tragic. They need guards or something. They need somebody because that right there shouldn't have happened," said shelter resident Derek Dickson.

The shelter says security includes pat downs for those entering and are looking at what areas can be improved, especially as shelters get packed because of code blue.

"What happened is pretty tragic, but it is not something that has ever happened. We do not have violence in our shelters," Nahikian said.

Coworkers, family members, and residents are still in shock, Goode said.

"I don't think that you could've found more dedicated employees, more concerned employees, more compassionate employees about what they do," said Goode.
Copyright © 2019 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.