1. Francis Decero murder: Philadelphia man was shot, stabbed and burned, police say
PHILADELPHIA - New details have emerged in the death and disappearance of Francis ‘Frankie’ Decero as Philadelphia police continue to investigate.
Decero, 25, had been reported missing from his home on Apr. 26. Surveillance video obtained by FOX 29 shows Decero double-parking his Jeep near the intersection of 13th and Biglor Streets before he got into another car that drove away.
Family members later located his Jeep out of gas, but Decero was nowhere to be found.
On Wednesday afternoon, Philadelphia police officers were flagged down in the area of 31st and Tasker streets by a group of juveniles. Those juveniles told police they had seen a body in the brush on Douglas Street.
The officers went to that location and found an unresponsive male, later identified as Decero, suffering from trauma to the body. He was pronounced dead at the scene by responding paramedics.
Police tell FOX 29’s Kelly Rule they are investigating if Decero may have been tortured and confirmed that he was found to have been shot, stabbed, beaten and burned.
Investigators originally followed a lead that Decero might have been targeted over recent lottery winnings, according to a source. Police Captain Jason Smith did not completely dismiss the lead, but he told FOX 29 that investigators coordinated with lottery officials and found no record of Decero winning.
2. School District of Philadelphia to screen students for weapons at middle schools
PHILADELPHIA - The efforts to combat gun violence in Philadelphia has reached the city’s middle schools as School District of Philadelphia officials say they’ll begin periodically screening students for weapons.
Beginning Monday, May 9, 6th through 8th grade students will be subject to the periodic weapons screenings. The district says that the screenings will take place at six schools per day and be conducted at every middle school and elementary schools with middle grades.
Every school will be screened at least once before the end of the school year.
This school year, the districts reports there have been two incidents of weapons in or near school property.
"We want to make sure people understand we’re doing everything possible to keep our schools the safe heavens we believe them to be," said Monica Lewis with the School District of Philadelphia.
Abdella Kreds, a junior at Ben Franklin High School, is no stranger to metal detectors.
"I think it’s a pretty safe thing for everybody to go through it everyday," Krebs said.
He says it doesn't really surprise him that kids as young as 6th grade need to be checked."
"You never know what kids my generation may carry or not, even 8th and 7th graders," he said.
The district says the screenings will be conducted by school safety personnel in the presence of at least one school leader. The screenings will utilize hand wands and metal detectors to screen for weapons, and all bags, backpacks and personal items will be checked.
The screenings will take place in the morning, and in most cases, be conducted in the school's entryway.
Even a 9-year-old in third grade understands the importance of these screenings.
"I think it is safe for the other kids to make sure that no other person has weapons on them for safety," third-grader Jasmie Weld said.
District officials say students will be give an opportunity to dispose of any illegal or inappropriate items prior to being screened without consequence.
Confiscated weapons like knives, pellet guns and brass knuckles will not be returned. Students who elect not to participate in the screening will be referred to school leaders.
If students are found to be in possession of a firearm they will be detained by school safety officials and referred to the Philadelphia Police Department., officials say. The district warns those students will also face a penalty.
3. Weekend Washout: Showers, cool temperatures ahead for Mother's Day weekend
PHILADELPHIA - Showers that lasted throughout the day Friday will continue over the weekend, but forecasters are hopeful that the rain will lessen in time to salvage Mother's Day plans.
Showers will continue overnight Friday with isolated downpours in areas mainly north and west of Philadelphia. Steady rain will engulf the Delaware Valley through the early morning hours, then hit a brief lull and pickup again for the rest of Saturday.
Along with the rain, forecasters believe temperatures will drop into the low 50's and upper 40's with blustery wind gusts that are expected to reach Gale or Storm Force along the coast. The National Weather Service warns that strong winds could damage trees and power lines.
Storms will persist through Saturday evening, with embedded pockets of heavy downpours. The weather service says areas along the coast will shoulder the brunt of the storm, with the treat of minor-to-moderate tidal flooding into throughout the weekend.
Widespread rainfall amounts of 1 to 3 inches are expected, which could also result in minor localized flooding, according to forecasters.
FOX 29's Scott Williams says the coastal storm will start to peter out by Sunday morning, with lingering showers that will mostly clear by the early evening. Temperatures, however, will stay stuck well below-average.
Spring conditions will return on Monday and continue to rally throughout the week. Forecasters predict highs to reach the mid-70s by midweek with a mix of sun and clouds.
4. Suspected arsonist charged in 'suspicious' fire that killed young NJ father
BURLINGTON COUNTY, N.J. - Police say they have arrested the person responsible for a fire that took the life of a 22-year-old man in Burlington County last month.
Camryn Powell was killed after a fire broke out in the apartment he shared with his father on Egbert Street on April 20.
Powell was the father of a 6-month-old, family said.
"Life’s not fair. He didn’t get a chance to show everybody he was going to make it," Cameron's aunt Shelly Adams said. "He didn’t get a chance! That breaks my heart."
A 22-year-old father was killed in a Burlington County apartment fire that police believe had suspicious origins.
Two other people were injured in the fire, including Powell's father.
The fire was initially deemed "suspicious" by officials. Upon further investigation, detectives determined the fire was set using an accelerant.
Newlin Evans, 22, was arrested in connection to the fatal fire on Wednesday. He is charged with felony murder, aggravated arson and causing or risking widespread injury or damage.
Officials say Evans sustained serious injuries from the fire, and fled the scene. He was later located at a motel in Mansfield Township and transported to Jefferson Hospital, where he was apprehended by security.
He is awaiting extradition to New Jersey at the Philadelphia County Jail.
5. Watch: Gunman ambushes victim on Kensington street in broad daylight
PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia police have released video of an ambush shooting that occurred in broad daylight in Kensington and left a man critically injured.
The shooting happened Thursday, May 5, on the 1800 block of East Clementine Street.
Video shows the victim standing on the corner of Clementine Street and Kensington Avenue when he was approached by the armed suspect.
The suspect, who was armed with two handguns, fired several shots and struck the victim multiple times, police say. The victim was taken to Temple University Hospital in critical condition.
Police say the suspect was armed with two handguns and one was equipped with an extended magazine.
The suspect fled the scene on foot and was last seen running south on Ruth Street.
The suspect has been described as having a thin build and was wearing a black sweatshirt, black pants, and black or dark blue New Balance sneakers.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact police.