Philadelphia officers found suspect naked, drinking vodka after allegedly killing 4 family members

ByMaggie Kent, Christie Ileto, and Corey Davis WPVI logo
Friday, November 1, 2019
Man confesses to killing 4 family members in West Philadelphia: Police
Man confesses to killing 4 family members in West Philadelphia. Maggie Kent repots on Action News at 5 on Oct. 31, 2019.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A 28-year-old man has confessed to killing four of his family members, including a 7-year-old and an 18-year-old, during a shooting at a home in West Philadelphia, according to police.

Acting Philadelphia Commissioner Christine Coulter said Maurice Louis shot his mother, step-father, and two half-brothers in the head with a shotgun on Tuesday. Coulter said he was found in a bedroom in the house and surrendered to police without any issue on Wednesday.

"We're convinced he is the killer of the four people in the home. Extremely tragic. I don't know how you describe the killing of four people, let alone to discovering it was done by somebody in their own family," Coulter said.

Officers responded to the home on the 5000 block of Walton Avenue at about 12:40 p.m. Wednesday to check on the well-being of a couple that did not show up for work.

"The employer of the male and female that resides here notified police that their employees did not show up for work, which is very unlike them," said Deputy Commissioner Joe Sullivan with the Philadelphia Police Department.

Philadelphia police hold press conference after family found dead on October 30, 2019.

Sullivan said police used a firetruck to gain access to the second floor of the home.

"A ladder truck granted us access to the second floor. Officers from the 18th District went inside. Once inside, they did encounter the suspect. He notified them that there were dead bodies," said Sullivan.

Police say they found Louis naked, sitting in a chair drinking from a bottle of Vodka and a rifle case on the floor.

Officers then found the four shooting victims: a 52-year-old woman by the front door, an 18-year-old boy in a bedroom, a 7-year-old boy in the kitchen and a 56-year-old man by the basement door. All four were pronounced dead by a medical unit.

Family members have identified the victims as: Janet Woodson Holmes, 52, Leslie Holmes, 56, Sy-eed Woodson, 18, and Leslie Holmes Jr., 7.

Reggie Woodson, Janet's older brother, watched in disbelief behind the maze of crime scene tape.

"I'm so numb. I can't even express what I feel now," said Reggie Woodson.

Detectives say the suspect, Maurice Louis, is the son of Janet Woodson Holmes.

Relatives said he suffered from depression and had been clinically diagnosed. Commissioner Coulter, however, said she has not seen any medical records indicating any mental issues.

"Stuff like that you would never think would happen, and my sister she treated him, gave him everything," said Reggie Woodson.

Watch video from the scene of where four people were found dead in West Philadlephia on October 30, 2019.

Relatives say the family had just returned from vacation at Disney World.

Janet was an entrepreneur, running a hair salon out of her home. She and Leslie also worked at Philadelphia Protestant Home. The CEO, Anthony Manzo, said Thursday was tough around the office.

Janet and Leslie had been married for nearly two years, tying the knot on Easter in their home with family and friends.

Leslie Jr. attended Discovery Charter, and Sy-eed was a senior at Boys Latin, who just started applying for colleges.

"One of the goals that he shared with us was to be an optometrist or opthamalogist," said Noah Tennant, CEO of the high school.

On Thursday, Boys Latin issued a statement, saying Sy-eed was an honors student and a beloved member of the school community.

"With the deepest sorrow, we must share the news of the tragic passing of Sy-eed Woodson, a high school senior and beloved member of the Boys' Latin community. Just last week, Sy-eed was inducted into the National Honor Society. He was an accomplished and respected student who earned strong grades in honors level classes. He was a pleasure to teach and was adored by his peers. He had ambitions of pursuing a career in Ophthalmology or Optometry and planned to attend college after graduation. In addition to his studies, Sy-eed competed on our bowling team and participated in Certamen, a team competition focused on classical history and the Latin language.

We mourn both the loss of Sy-eed's life as well as the loss of his ability to carry forward his full potential. His Boys' Latin family will carry him in our hearts. We send our deepest condolence to Sy-eed's family and friends."

City officials will be at both the schools of Sy-eed Woodson and Leslie Holmes Jr. to help with counseling.