Wednesday, November 10, 2021

A Holiday Black Eye For The City: A Murder At Christmas Village

By Ralph Cipriano

Shortly before 9 p.m. last night, a cop  heard gunshots inside Christmas Village, an outdoor peddler's market currently under construction in Love Park, at 15th and JFK. 

The cop subsequently discovered a 29 year-old white male from Lancaster County who'd been shot in the head, neck and stomach, according to CBS3

The victim, who was seen just an hour earlier walking around Love Park with a blue backpack, was transported to Jefferson University Hospital where he was subsequently pronounced dead.

"We found two spent shell casings on the sidewalk at the intersection of 15th and JFK, not too far from where the victim was lying," Chief Inspector Scott Small told ABC6

The annual peddler's village billed as Philadelphia's authentic German market, was scheduled to open Nov. 24th. It features some 80 vendors in wooden booths serving up waffles, gingerbread, bratwurst and mulled wine. The village also offers holiday decorations and trinkets for sale, along with free pictures for kids who want to pose with Phil the Reindeer, the market's official mascot. 

But Phil the Reindeer was nowhere in sight last night as the cops wound up cordoning off the village with yellow police tape.

A witness told the cops that the suspect, a black male dressed in all-dark clothing, got into a Jeep that was festively decorated with green wheels and green lights, and was last seen traveling west on JFK Boulevard toward 16th Street. 

Police sources said the suspect was employed at the village as a security guard.

According to the source, the suspect, who apparently got into an argument with the victim, left the village, and retrieved a gun out of his car, before he returned to fire the fatal shots.

The suspect, identified as Gregory Thomas, 43, of Gray's Ferry, has been charged with murder.

Police said Thomas was an employee of Ingage Security, a firm hired by the city of Philadelphia to provide security at the Christmas Village.

According to the firm's website, Ingage provides secuirty for facilities & operations managers, building owners, property management companies, and branch managers.

"They all call on lngage to provide cohesive security solutions to keep their facilities safe, protect their stakeholders and mitigate potential threats," the company's website proclaims. "As a regional industry leader, we are known for our expertise, our staff, industry-leading training, cutting-edge quality control and reporting tools, and especially our intense focus on customer service and accountability, all of which unite to deliver top-shelf results." 

According to that website, the firm provides security for special events, music festivals, concerts and parades. The firm bragged about its "commitment to providing the best possible guest experience along with safety" at city events that included Wawa Welcome America, Made in America, the 6abc Dunkin Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade, various cultural festivals, the American Ninja Warrior and the 2017 NFL Draft.a

But somebody screwed up when they hired Gregory Thomas. He's got six prior arrests for narcotics, and as a convicted felon, was not allowed to carry a gun. 

Police said that after Thomas fled the scene, his supervisor tracked him down, went to his house and picked him up. And then the supervisor drove Thomas to the police, where he surrendered. 

According to the cops, Thomas said he was trying to secure the perimeter of the Christmas Village, which is closed and under construction, when the victim, who may have been mentally ill, kept pestering him to gain entrance into the site.

An argument allegedly evolved into a physical confrontation, where, Thomas claimed, the victim swung a backpack at him that had a piece of wood inside, allegedly striking Thomas in the head.

That's when Thomas decided to take matters into his own hands. Instead of calling cops, who were on site, Thomas went to his Jeep, retrieved a gun, and proceeded to shoot and kill the victim.

Police are not revealing the identity of the victim because his next-of-kin have not been notified yet.

The city's official body count as of last night now stands at 473 murders, up 11% from last year's near record of 499 murders.

The city's official record for annual murders was 500, set back in 1990. At the current pace, the city will set a new record this year with 553 murders.

On top of that, the city has another 161 dead bodies that the cops refer to as "S jobs," for "suspicious" deaths.

According to a police spokesperson, the S Jobs are known formally as "Special Assignments." The spokesperson defined S Jobs as "sudden death investigations, assistant to other law enforcement agencies, the killing of a civilian, intimidation of a witness, missing persons with suspicious circumstances, and other type incidents investigated by Homicide that are not [or not yet] classified as murders."

Last night's murder was a blemish on the holiday village that's scheduled to be open until Christmas Eve, when the city will have set a new record for murders.

The setting of the latest homicide, in Center City's Love Park, long a tourist attraction, set off alarm bells inside adjacent City Hall.

The Christmas Village murder was spectacularly bad timing for Mayor Kenney, and Police Commissioner Outlaw, who are expected to speak today at a regularly scheduled press conference at 1 p.m. to explain how the city is doing in its war on gun violence.

Not good.

Expect the requisite handwringing from Kenney and Outlaw. The two "leaders" have repeatedly demonstrated that they are only capable of mouthing platitudes, passing the buck, and making excuses as they remain clueless about how to stop the bloodshed.


  1. My! What a fitting start to the Holiday Season in Jim Kenney's city of hopelessness and despair.
    I read where someone in zoning resigned because Kenney was meddling in a property deal on the behalf of Trump-like NY developers. The issue surrounded Jewish and LGBTQ sites of some significance.
    That Jim Kenney! Politicians like him are why developers like Trump are so rich!

  2. I read that! These actions reveal the true, dark, greedy nature of the soul of Jim Kenney.The
    Jim Kenney exists sloley to serve Trump-like developers.

    Philly Historical Commission official resigns, says Kenney meddled in vote over LGBTQ, African American landmark | Local News
    October 13, 2021in Black NewsReading Time: 4min read

    A city employee who serves on the Philadelphia Historical Commission has resigned from his job and commission post with an accusation that Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration pressured him to vote against the historic certification of a site of LGBTQ and Black history on behalf of a developer.

    Josh Lippert, a manager with the city’s Department of Licenses & Inspections, had served as that department’s designee on the historical commission since early 2019. But at a meeting last week, Lippert announced he intended to resign over what he described as a pattern of interference from the Mayor’s Office.

    Lippert singled out a 2019 vote over an effort to nominate the former 12th Street Gym property on 12th Street at Locust Street to the city’s historic register to stave off plans to demolish and redevelop the site into a 448-unit tower. The multi-property site included a building that was home to 19th century abolitionist Henry Minton and the Camac Baths — one of the first Jewish and, later, LGBT-friendly bathhouses in the city — as well as a mural to gay rights activist Gloria Casarez painted by artist Michelle Angela Ortiz.

    Ahead of that commission vote, Lippert said former L&I commissioner David Perri approached him and advised him to vote against the historic nomination.

    “The commissioner sat me down in his office and made it explicit that this was the administration’s wishes,” he said.

    Lippert said Perri left the final vote up

  3. Kenney looks like the Penguin from the campy 1960s Batman show.
    "Holy Doppelganger Batman! The Penguin has taken over the city!"
    Batman: "Yes, Boy Wonder! The duplicitous dirtbag of death of destruction is loose-ed in the corridor of power in our fair city!"


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