The man accused of firing at random while wearing body armor and killing five people in a Philadelphia neighborhood this week is believed to be mentally ill, a senior law enforcement source briefed on the investigation said.
A motive in the shootings, which spanned several blocks in the city’s southwest side around 8:30 p.m. Monday, is under investigation, officials said.
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said that if there are mental health issues, they are addressed by expert examinations ordered by a court. He said he expected the exams to be ordered.
At an arraignment Wednesday, Kimbrady Carriker, 40, was ordered held without bail.
The gunman was wearing a ballistic vest and a ski mask and had a police scanner, officials said. He was armed with what police have described as an AR-style rifle and a handgun.
In addition to the rifle, the gunman had a 9 mm handgun that the district attorney’s office described as a “ghost gun,” or a firearm with no serial number.
More than 60 spent .223-caliber shell casings have been found, along with nine 9 mm shell casings, the district attorney’s office said Wednesday.
Krasner said the violence was “essentially a random shooting.”
The victims were 15 to 59 years old.
Two children, ages 2 and 13, were also shot, police said. The 2-year-old was among five people in a Jeep Cherokee that was fired upon, the district attorney’s office said. A second 2-year-old was injured by shattered glass.
Investigators searching Carriker’s home found a will in his handwriting dated June 23, Assistant District Attorney Robert Wainwright said. A .380-caliber handgun and .223-caliber ammunition were also at the home, he said.
Carriker made several social media posts about guns and shared posts from pro-gun groups, the senior law enforcement official said. A number of the postings have been taken down and appear to be contradictory in nature, the official cautioned, meaning they could be supportive of different ideologies or beliefs.
Police work the scene of a shooting on July 3, 2023 in Philadelphia.Drew Hallowell / Getty ImagesKrasner declined to comment on social media posts.
Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore said investigators now know Carriker “was exhibiting abnormal behavior for quite a while, in the fact that he was wearing this vest and had these guns inside of his house.”
“Like we say in a lot of other cases, if you see something, say something,” she said at Wednesday’s news conference. “There were other people living in that house that observed his behavior.”
They said Carriker wore the vest in the past, she said.
“I guess it wasn’t abnormal to them, but I believe they thought he was getting more and more agitated as the days were passing, and their way of dealing with it was just to avoid it and not interfere with him,” she said.
Seven other people were living in the house, Wainwright said. At least one of them “described him as becoming more agitated recently, those were the words — ‘recently,'” he said.
During the shooting, the brother of one of the people who was killed picked up a handgun his brother legally had on him and returned fire at Carriker, Wainwright said.
That person was taken into custody but was released without charge, and officials said he acted in self-defense. He fired seven shots at Carriker, Wainwright said. Carriker was not hit.
Carriker will be assigned a public defender. A spokesperson for the Defender Association of Philadelphia declined to comment Wednesday.
Mayor Jim Kenney announced a lawsuit Wednesday that he said targets “ghost guns,” a term used to describe firearms made through parts or kits sold by mail. The complaint is against two companies, and it has been in the works for over a year, he said.
Tom Winter is a New York-based correspondent covering crime, courts, terrorism and financial fraud on the East Coast for the NBC News Investigative Unit.
Source : NBC News