PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia police say two suspects are in custody for the the murder of 38-year-old Gerard Grandzol outside of his Spring Garden home Thursday night.
Police say Maurice Roberts, 21, and his 16-year-old brother, Marvin Roberts, are in custody for allegedly shooting killing Grandzol in an attempted carjacking, as he tried to protect his 2-year-old daughter who was riding in the backseat.
Police say Marvin Roberts will be tried as an adult.
Maurice Roberts was apprehend about 6:15 p.m. in New Jersey Saturday night.
“They wanted the car; he wouldn’t give up the car. And they shot him for it,” said Homicide Capt. John Ryan.
Police say Robert’s younger brother is believed to have been the one who shot Grandzol twice in the head at point-blank range. The two were reportedly headed to Center City to try and rob someone, and Grandzol happened to become a target on the 1500 block of Melon Street.
Police say there are no other suspects involved in the incident, and their family is cooperating with police.
Residents of the close-knit 1500 block of Melon Street are reeling after the brutal murder. They say Grandzol was a devoted husband and proud father of two-year-old and six-week-old daughters.
“We’re going to miss him so dearly,” said neighbor Yee Wan, who described Grandzol as “always smiling.”
Wan says they jokingly referred to him as the mayor of the street.
“This is just not fair that this is how he died,” Kristin Grandzol, the victim’s wife, tells KYW Newsradio’s Hadas Kuznits.
She struggled to fight back tears as she spoke about her husband.
“He was just the best father to our two girls that you could even imagine,” she says. “He was welcoming to everyone in the neighborhood. Everybody loved him and he was just the best. Those two gunshots just destroyed my life and my two daughters don’t have a father now. I have a six-week-old daughter and a two-and-a-half year-old who saw the whole thing and I don’t know if she’ll ever be right.”
Grandzol served as executive director of Special Counsel, a legal recruiting firm, and spent many years serving community organizations such as the Spring Garden Civic Association, in an effort to make the city better and safer, according to family members.
“He was a fabulous person. He was the best husband, father, neighbor, friend that we could ever ask for,” Wan said. “We had a block party a few weeks ago and he was the man of the hour.”
Investigators say around 8 p.m. Thursday night, Grandzol had just returned from playing frisbee at Lemon Hill with his toddler and family dog.
As he parked the SUV, with the child still inside, the two men approached.
The suspects did take his wallet, then fired two shots that would ultimately take his life.
“There’s a great deal of people upstairs as we speak working on this job and we’re making every effort to bring these people to justice,” Ryan said.
Grandzol’s family sent Eyewitness News a statement that read:
“We are heartbroken to announce the tragic and senseless loss of our beloved father, son, brother, grandson, uncle, cousin, and friend, Gerard Patrick Grandzol. Ger loved the city and devoted much of his time to community activism. He was often seen riding his bike from his home in Spring Garden to his office at Special Counsel, where he was a successful executive. Ger loved being a father to his two-year-old and six-week-old daughters and adored his wife of almost two years. His smile, sense of humor, and love of life touched all who knew him. We would like to thank the first responders who tried to save Ger and the officers of the Philadelphia Police Department who are thoroughly investigating this heinous crime. We implore anyone with information about what happened to call Philadelphia Police.”
Loved ones are also sharing their memories and photos on a Facebook page called “Remembering Gerard Grandzol.”
“He loves it he absolutely loved living there,” Grandzol’s sister Maureen Newberry said to Eyewitness News of his Spring Garden neighborhood. “The area he lived was a very close knit group of his friends and neighbors who became friends. I want people to remember him for who he was as a person because he was amazing and he put himself in danger for his daughter.”
“He was the party of the block too. He just brought everyone to life,” Wan said. “It’s senseless. I’m losing words right now to even describe it.”
A GoFundMe page has been established in Grandzol’s memory.
CBS3’s Anita Oh and KYW Newsradio’s Hadas Kuznits contributed to this report.