Man shot during string of carjackings in Northeast Philadelphia

Police are asking for the public's help in locating the Mercedes with Pennsylvania registration LFD-2466.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Police are investigating a string of carjackings incidents in Northeast Philadelphia Sunday morning, including one where suspects shot a victim.

It happened around 6 a.m. on the 1400 block of Cheltenham Avenue near Large Street.

Police say four armed men approached a 27-year-old man and dragged him out of his silver Mercedes. One of the suspects then shot the man in the stomach before taking the vehicle.

Family members identified the victim as 27-year-old Raheem Bell.

"I'm just hoping he pulls through," said Nneka Burnett, the block captain, who says she heard a gunshot. "I didn't hear anybody scream or yell and I didn't want to run out outside."

Police are asking for the public's help in locating the Mercedes with Pennsylvania registration LFD-2466.

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"There's been a big increase in violence throughout the city... The first thing they ask is: 'I need a weapon for protection,'" said one Philadelphia gun shop owner.

Bell's family and neighbors say he's a pillar in the community who just held a Christmas party for neighborhood kids a few months ago.

Bell underwent surgery on Sunday. He was last listed in critical condition.

Investigators believe these suspects may have tried to commit other carjackings as well, including one minutes later on Bridge Street and Summerdale Avenue. Police say a suspect was shot at, but no one was injured.
"It's not the safest neighborhood. A lot happens here, but I know myself and the block captain, we've been really working on it," said neighbor Rose Benoit.

"I worry about my safety all the time. I told my fiancé I wanted to apply for a handgun for safety. God forbid anyone comes in past a certain time," said Chris DiNofa, a neighbor.

Police are investigating another attempted carjacking blocks away on the 1000 block of Cheltenham Avenue involving a blue Honda. Investigators have not said if this is connected to the other two incidents, but neighbors are still on edge.

"Innocent people are being killed. Babies are being killed from stray bullets and nothing is being done in this city. It's like you can't walk out your door, you're not safe in your house. What are you supposed to do?" asked a neighbor who did not want to be identified.

Anyone with information in connection with these incidents is asked to call Philadelphia police at 215-686-TIPS.
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