AG Henry Announces Charges Against Three Philadelphia Men in Joint Investigation with ATF, Philadelphia Police for Three Gang-Related Murders and One Shooting That Paralyzed Victim

September 25, 2023 | Topic: Criminal

Law enforcement utilized ATF’s NIBIN database to link murder weapon to shootings

HARRISBURG – Attorney General Michelle Henry, along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) in Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Police Department, announced arrests regarding three homicides and a fourth shooting incident that left a victim paralyzed.

The shootings happened in 2021 and 2022 in Northeast and Northwest Philadelphia and stemmed from an ongoing feud between a gang, which included the defendants, who identified as “6600,” and a rival gang in Northeast Philadelphia. Four additional people were wounded in the shooting incidents.

Daquan Bishop, 26, and Chris Byard, 25, both of Philadelphia, are each charged with two counts of homicide for shootings in November 2021 and December 2021. Byard is also charged with homicide for a shooting in January 2022 and attempted murder for a shooting in February 2022.

Daquan Bethea, 25, is also charged with the February 2022 shooting in which a man was shot 19 times, resulting in paralysis from the waist-down.

The shooters, all in custody, believed the intended targets were members of a rival gang — although in one killing, the shooters mistook the identity of their victim.

“These defendants are charged with perpetrating a reign of terror in the streets of Philadelphia, pulling the trigger over gang allegiances and without concern for anyone in their path,” Attorney General Henry said. “I cannot emphasize enough the importance of strong collaboration between law enforcement agencies. In these cases, those relationships removed imminent threats from our communities.”

The Office of Attorney General, which is prosecuting these cases, in recent months, utilized grand jury proceedings to aid in this investigation, led by ATF and the Philadelphia Police Department.

“The individuals facing these charges are not merely alleged wrongdoers; they represent a real and present danger to our society”, said Interim Philadelphia Police Commissioner John Stanford. “Their alleged actions have jeopardized the safety and peace of mind of our residents, and their arrest signifies a significant victory for law enforcement and our partners in the pursuit of justice.”

The 50th Investigating Grand Jury was presented with evidence about the defendants’ gang association and how surveillance videos, social media, and cell phone analysis linked them to the shootings. The National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN), a database containing the unique identifiers of fired cartridge casings, showed that the same firearms were used in some of the shootings.

“NIBIN is a tool used to share ballistic information that is critical to reducing violent crime. ATF will continue to work with our state and local partners to identify, arrest and remove offenders who are committing acts of violence involving firearms,” said Special Agent in Charge, Eric DeGree.

Video evidence also showed the same vehicle was used by the shooters. Cell phone and social media analysis showed the defendants discussed the shootings before and after, and searched for news coverage of the shootings.

Bishop and Byard were charged in recent weeks, and were already in custody on federal firearms charges at the time of their arrest on these charges. Bethea was arrested on September 23, 2023. His bail is set at $600,000.

Bishop and Byard have preliminary hearings scheduled for November 8, 2023. Bethea’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for October 12, 2023.

This case will be prosecuted by Deputy Attorney General Whitney Golden. All charges are accusations. The defendants are innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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