Reporting Elizabeth Hur
By Elizabeth Hur
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Their father was shot in his own home after he interrupted a burglary, and now the accused gunman is on the run just days after his arrest.
It’s a heartbreaking crime with a terrible cost, and the victim’s family is talking only to Eyewitness News.
Eighty-year-old Joseph Fleming had to undergo an emergency surgery on Wednesday, almost two weeks after the shooting.
The victim’s son, John Fleming, said, “Every one of us, we’re devastated. There’s no reason for something like this.”
Two gun shots, according to police, turned the 80-year-old man’s life upside down and his family is now praying for a miracle.
“It’s not fair. I mean, how can someone come up and take someone’s life like that? Or try to take someone’s life? Four surgeries now,” explained Eileen Fleming, the victim’s daughter.
On May 17th, police say Joseph Fleming was home watching TV when an intruder, identified by police as 18-year-old Sean Johnson, broke into the basement of Fleming’s home in the 6600 block of Yocum Street. When Fleming heard some noise, he got up to investigate, but Johnson fired twice, first through the basement door.
John Fleming said, “The first one was down here in his kidneys, and then when they came out they shot him in the stomach [at] point blank range, they leaned over him and shot him as they were jumping over him.”
Police say evidence from the scene led investigators to Johnson. He was later arrested but managed to escape from police custody last Saturday.
“My father fought for this country, and for someone to take his freedom away from him…it’s senseless,” John Fleming said.
“My father has been in the hospital 13 days now, and my mother has not moved from his side once,” Eileen Fleming added.
Joseph has been married to his best friend for 53 years, and by all accounts, Fleming was loving life as a retired electrician. Now, he is fighting for his life, and what concerns his family is the knowledge that the suspected shooter is still out there.
Eileen Fleming said, “It could be anybody’s parents, and I don’t want this to happen to anybody else. It’s killing us.”
Police tell us that Johnson is from the Southwest Philadelphia area and has “54” tattooed between his eyes.
Police say he’s been charged with attempted murder, burglary and other related offenses. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is urged to call the police.