PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In a CBS 3 Exclusive, the mother of a 20-year-old Frankford High School Football star, tells Eyewitness News how her efforts to close the bar where he son was gunned down almost cost her, and several others, their lives.
Javese Phelps Washington recounted the frightening moments as she and supporters quietly held a vigil outside what was then named the “T & T Bar” at Hawthorne and Margaret Streets in Frankford, hoping to have the bar closed by city and state officials.
On February 19th, Washington’s son, Christopher Spence, a standout football player who graduated from Frankford and was heading to college, was shot to death inside the bar. Another young man was murdered outside the bar in September. The District Attorney says the bar has a long list of serious complaints, going back to 2005, that have been referred to its Nuisance Bar Unit.
Police say a car pulled up around 11:45 p.m. and opened fire on Spence’s mother and other neighbors, firing 19 shots, wounding two, as they desperately raced for cover from flying bullets, late in the evening March 18th.
The owner of the bar, which has now been renamed and is under new management according to a sign outside, was arrested Saturday, and charged with three counts of attempted murder, along with aggravated assault and other crimes.
Capt. Jack McGinnis who heads Northeast Detective Division identified the suspect as bar owner, Shamus Armstead.
McGinnis indicated the bar owner “was angry because they cut his business, its a horrendous crime.”
Armstead is now being held in $450,000 bail.
Both shooting victims have made full recoveries.
Spence’s mother says Tuesday, March 29th would have been her son’s 21st birthday, a day she will be visiting the cemetery.
And ,she adds, if the bar does reopen, she will be back protesting.
No one at the bar was available for comment.
Reported by Walt Hunter, CBS 3