Police: Dispatch errors made after first killing by accused Philadelphia mass shooter

The error has people in this heartbroken neighborhood wondering if the killings on the following day could've been prevented.

Monday, July 10, 2023
Police: Dispatch errors made after 1st killing by accused mass shooter
The dispatch error has people in this heartbroken neighborhood wondering if the mass shooting the following day could've been prevented.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A day before killing four people in a mass shooting in Philadelphia last week, authorities say the gunman went to his first victim's door wearing a dark mask, shot through it before entering the home and continued to shoot, police officials said at a news conference Monday.

The details were revealed a day after police announced that it was likely Joseph Wamah Jr., 31, had been killed in the early hours of July 2, and not during the larger July 3 attack, as police had initially thought. Authorities also revealed that a 911 call reporting the gunshots had been misrouted to the wrong neighborhood.

An investigation is underway into Wamah's murder and the emergency response following the first shooting.

SEE ALSO: 1st victim of Kingsessing mass shooting was killed 44 hours earlier: Philadelphia police

Philadelphia police released new information on Sunday involving the mass shooting that took place in the Kingsessing neighborhood on July 3.

A woman who doesn't want to be identified says she watched from her porch as the alleged mass shooter Kimbrady Carriker, 40, opened fire through the front door of 1625 South 56th Street, killing Joseph Wamah Jr.

He was gunned down roughly 44 hours before authorities say Carriker opened fire with an AR-15-style rifle in the same neighborhood, killing four others and wounding four more in a southwest Philadelphia neighborhood.

"It was like something out of a movie. I couldn't believe it," said the eyewitness.

Philadelphia police provide new info on last week's mass shooting, saying a dispatch error was made after the first killing by alleged shooter Kimbrady Carriker.

She says an hour and a half after the alleged killing, she repeatedly called 911.

"I waited, but the cops didn't come. I started feeling guilty. So I did call the cops. But the first two times I didn't get no answer, and the third time they called me back to ask me the location," recalled the woman.

Instead of South 56th Street, officers were dispatched to the 1600 block of North 56th Street, roughly three miles away.

Responding officers didn't see anything and left.

SEE ALSO:| Philadelphia mass shooting suspect left behind a will, had been acting agitated: DA

Kimbrady Carriker

"When they spoke to each other, there was no mention of direction....north or south. Just stating it was on the 1600 block," said Deputy Commissioner Krista Dahl-Campbell, who oversees police dispatch.

But 911 calls show accurate address locations, and police admit they had some accurate information available.

"An error was made. Someone placed in the wrong location without looking at the very small print that she was at S. 56th," Deputy Commissioner Frank Vanore said during a Monday afternoon press conference.

The dispatch error has people in this heartbroken neighborhood wondering if the mass shooting the following day could've been prevented.

"While it may have given us an investigative lead, the likelihood of cutting off what happened later... we just don't know," said Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.

Meanwhile, while the dispatch response is being investigated, Outlaw said the department has instituted another failsafe to try to prevent calls from being wrongly marked as unfounded. She said a higher level of supervisor will have to review and OK it before a call is dismissed.

Dahl-Campbell said when 911 calls are received, the system identifies a location for the caller. Dispatchers have the option of automatically transferring that location to dispatchers, but in this case and in most cases, the operator inputs the location by hand.

"Oftentimes you are not calling about yourself ... so they end up inputting the reported information instead," she said.

SEE ALSO| Here's what we know about the 5 victims of the Philadelphia mass shooting

Vanore said police are still investigating a motive in both shootings. Carriker has been charged with five counts of murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault and weapons charges.

Investigators say it appears the same weapon was used in the attacks. He had previously said both the AR-15-style weapon and a handgun found on Carriker after the shootings were self-manufactured weapons also known as ghost guns.

Vanore also said if he had not been familiar with Carriker since he was taken into custody, he would not have been able to identify him from the surveillance video gathered in Wamah's shooting because he was wearing dark clothing and a mask covering his face.

Officers said witnesses and video of the attack indicated the suspect went to several locations while wearing a ski mask and body armor, carrying the AR-15-style rifle and shooting people and moving cars at random.

Cornered in an alley, Carriker surrendered and was found to have two guns, extra magazines, a police scanner and a bulletproof vest, police said.

Lashyd Merritt, 21; Dymire Stanton, 29; Ralph Moralis, 59; and DaJuan Brown, 15, were all killed in the July 3 attack. A 13-year-old and 2-year-old also suffered gunshot wounds and two others, including a 2-year-old, suffered wounds from shattered glass, police said.

Fighting against the violence

Community members gathered on Monday night to speak out against the ongoing violence.

"We have to get up. We have to get involved. We have to stand up about all of this," said Jamal Johnson of Kingsessing.

Also in attendance were members of the anti-violence group Mothers in Charge.

"We can't do this by ourselves. Everybody has got to come together with this. Like they said, it takes a village to raise a child, (it) takes a village to stop this violence," said Sharleen Onugha with Mothers In Charge.

"We have to get up. We have to get involved. We have to stand up about all of this," said Jamal Johnson of Kingsessing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.