PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Sources tell CBS3 that Philly homicide detectives are making progress in identifying as many as five teenagers behind the savage beating of Kevin Cullen.
Cullen, who family and friends say was homeless, was brutalized Sunday night at the corner of Loring and Erdrick Streets. He died 12 hours later at the hospital.
The neighborhood, fond of Cullen, is anxious for police to make arrests.
“It’s always like that,” neighbor Donna Fricker said. “It takes somebody to die for people to start speaking and saying things.”
Philadelphia police have had challenges, largely internal ones with the District Attorney’s Office, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the case.
After detectives recovered a dropped cell phone linking one teenager to the crime scene, sources say police were ready to file charges.
The teen had been brought in for questioning, but a staff member at the DA’s office halted their efforts, allegedly telling detectives they didn’t have an interview with the victim.
At this point, no such interview was possible, police say. Cullen was on life support and near death. As a result, the teen was released.
CBS3 spoke to Jennifer Wall who found the phone on the ground and handed it over to police.
She and others are curious about the hold up on filing charges.
“Hopefully the videos here will prove otherwise, because the video cameras, everyone has them. Hopefully they’ll show them dropping the phone, leaving the scene,” Wall said.
A spokesman for the district attorney’s office declined to comment on the claims made by police sources.
CBS3 has also learned detectives are evaluating any possible connection to another beating a week ago near Saint Hubert’s High School. In that case, a group of teens assaulted a man, who like Cullen, was alone, but he survived. No arrests were made in that assault.
Officially, police had no comment on the progress of the investigation.