Father shot and killed in front of daughter in Spring Garden identified

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SPRING GARDEN (WPVI) —

Philadelphia Police have identified the man killed in front of his young daughter Thursday night in the city’s Spring Garden neighborhood.

38-year-old Gerard Grandzol was fatally shot just after 8 p.m. Thursday in the 1500 block of Melon Street, where he lived.

“We heard two loud noises. I thought it was firecrackers, realized it was gunshots. We came to the window. We saw a guy lying in the street,” one resident said.

Neighbors quickly rushed to the side of the 38-year-old victim, who witnesses say was shot in front of his 2-year-old daughter.

“By the time we ran up to him, people were bandaging him, holding him,” the same resident told Action News. “And right in the head, right in the face, there was a pool of blood.”

Grandzol had just parked the family SUV, police say, when two men approached. One was armed with a gun.

The neighbor we spoke with says he watched it happen on a friend’s surveillance video.

“It looks like they’re trying to tell him what to do, like commanding him. They had him by the arm. He wasn’t resisting or anything. Then the one just pulls the trigger and they both ran,” he said.

Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said, “We believe the motive was robbery. And we believe the victim’s wallet was taken. But for some unknown reason, the perpetrator fired two shots.”

The victim was hit at least once in the head at point blank range.

He was rushed by police to Hahnemann University Hospital, where he later died.

Police say it’s not clear if the suspects knew the victim personally.

Residents were left in shock.

“We’ve been here for two months,” said one neighbor. “It’s peaceful and quiet. And we always talk about how nice that street is.”

Police say the suspects were last seen heading west on Melon and north on 15th Street.

They are described as men in their late teens or early 20s.

Both were wearing dark hooded sweatshirts and tan pants at the time of the shooting.

“He loved Philadelphia. He loved Spring Garden,” another neighbor said.

That neighbor, who knew Grandzol, did not want to be identified out of fear of retaliation. However, he says he was a member of the Spring Garden Civic Association with Grandzol.

“He was a very strong and active member of this community. A husband and a father – was murdered three block from my home,” he said. “It was very similar to muggings that have been going on in this neighborhood for at least 12 to 18 months.”

The neighbor says what happened Thursday night is the result of a buildup of violence over many months.

“There was a number of serious muggings that started taking place. Primarily they were teenagers attacking men and women.”

We also spoke with a neighbor who says he watched it happen on a friend’s surveillance video.

Today a Facebook page titled “Remembering Gerard Grandzol” was formed. On it many pictures have been posted to celebrate his life.

Also a post, which reads in part: “My brother, Gerard Grandzol, was one of a kind. Charming, witty, always smiling and devising ways to have fun.”

Police were looking for surveillance video in the area that might yield some clues.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Philadelphia Police.

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