Lancaster is reeling from another shooting that left two men wounded, which happened in between the two killings.
Police have not linked the crimes, but the pair of killings both involve potential retaliation from other crimes, and victims and witnesses afraid to come forward that have links to the cases, records show.
Police have arrested one suspect, while a second shooter remains loose.
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Geographically, two of the shootings are within a few of blocks of each other and near two churches. And the third was less than a mile away – almost directly across the street from Lancaster’s Early Childhood Development Center, where hundreds of children attend school daily.
Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Doug Barfield said the shootings are not believed to be random gunplay.
“It would be safe to say that neither one of our shootings were random,” he said.
Around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Yusuf Abdus-Salaam, 32, of Downey Drive in Lancaster, was shot several times before he was found outside a house on Hampton Road in Lancaster, police said. He later died.
There’s still no indication that any of these three matters ... are related to each other.
-Doug Barfield, Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office
Abdus-Salaam has convictions dating back to 2002 for disorderly conduct, driving under suspension, check fraud and drugs, SLED records show.
Abdus-Salaam, whose first name is spelled Yusef on court records but was spelled as Yusuf by the county coroner in announcing his death – his name is spelled both ways by the State Law Enforcement Division – had been free on bond since June, court records show. In that crime, arrest warrants allege Abdus-Sallam was one of five men in a mob who beat and then shot a man to death in a retaliation.
Abdus-Salaam was out on $150,000 bond in 2014 for that alleged killing when he was arrested for another incident of attempted murder and armed robbery, court records show. Yet 18 months later, in June, he was given a $20,000 bond on the murder charge.
Lancaster police declined to give any details Thursday about the killing of Abdus-Salaam, but court records show that Abdus-Salaam was one of five men accused of the 2009 beating and shooting death of Lemario Ford.
Police said in the arrest warrant that Ford, believed to be part of a previous robbery, was lured to a vacant house by Abdus-Salaam and his friends who allegedly beat Ford “bloody” before killing him with a gunshot in retaliation for a robbery.
In the 2014 crime, Abdus-Salaam allegedly told a robbery victim: “I know you told on my homeboy” before forcing the victim to strip naked and then shooting at the victim as the naked man ran away, arrest warrants allege. In that case, court records show the victim was “scared and fearful for his life” and refused to show up for court, records show.
Even with the death of Abdus-Salaam, prosecutors plan to try the four other defendants for the killing of Ford in 2009 starting Oct. 31, said Randy Newman, 6th Circuit solicitor.
Dave Cook, Abdus-Salaam’s lawyer, said in a statement Thursday that he is barred from talking about the details of the cases by attorney-client privilege, but did say that the killing of Abdus-Salaam is a “tragedy.”
“Yusef was a good person from a good family who was actively trying to turn his life around,” Cook said in the statement through his paralegal.
Sunday afternoon, Devone Frazier, 30, died after he was found shot and lying in the road on the 900 block of 13th Street. Kenneth Jerome Hood Jr., 19, has been charged with murder in Frazier’s death.
Frazier, nicknamed “Shorty,” was awaiting a retrial in the March 2007 killing of Jermaine “Baldy” Richardson, according to court records and Frazier’s lawyer. A Lancaster County jury convicted Frazier in 2009 – Frazier admitted he shot Richardson but claimed it was after Richardson attacked him and shot at him – but an appeals court overturned his conviction in 2013 and granted him a new trial. The 6th Circuit Solicitor’s Office said it was planning to retry Frazier this year.
Yusef was a good person from a good family who was actively trying to turn his life around.
-Dave Cook, attorney for shooting victim Yusef Abdus-Salaam, who was awaiting trial on a murder charge
Police said they are still working the case, and Barfield declined to comment on whether the killing of Devone Frazier is linked to the 2007 killing of Jermaine Richardson, or if Hood has any connection to Richardson.
Mark Grier, 6th Circuit deputy public defender, was Frazier’s lawyer for the 2009 trial and was preparing to defend Frazier again again later this year. Grier is the lawyer for one of the four other defendants charged in the 2009 murder that Abdus-Salaam was charged with until Abdus-Salaam died.
Grier said he does not know of any connection between the shootings this week, and that Frazier maintained that he only shot Richardson after Richardson was embarrassed by Frazier in a confrontation earlier that day. Frazier was released on $100,000 bond after his conviction was overturned.
“Mr. Frazier always maintained he was acting in self-defense,” Grier said.
Frazier also cannot be brought to trial because he is dead.
In between the two fatal shootings on Monday night, two men were shot near Yancy Street in Lancaster. Both victims are reportedly cooperating with law enforcement, and Barfield said investigators are pursuing some leads in that case.
“There’s still no indication that any of these three matters, one of which is obviously a city case, are related to each other,” Barfield said. “We always investigate to see if there is a link and continue to do that on all these matters.”