The crime has the makings of a movie script: Car chase. Gunshots. Famous Philadelphia rapper.
But the ending of the script – and the final clue that connects all the dots – remains missing.
Who shot Beanie Sigel?
The rapper is recovering at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City from wounds caused by a bullet that struck the abdomen and exited his back two weeks ago in Pleasantville, N.J.
Investigators say they have received little cooperation from Sigel’s family and friends since the Dec. 5 shooting. Sigel is breathing with the aid of a tube and ventilator, and is unable to speak to investigators. Hospital officials said his family has asked them not to release information on his condition. Police last reported it to be critical but stable.
Detectives have searched two cars in connection with the case. One is a silver Lincoln, which was struck by at least two bullets, police said. It was found a block away from the 800 block of Spruce Avenue, where the shooting occurred about 9:30 a.m. Sigel’s brother-in-law, Umar Salahuddin, 22, who lives on the street, told police the car belongs to him and was stolen during the incident.
Person of interest
The second car is a gray Honda Odyssey, which officers chased after seeing it flee the scene. A mile into the pursuit, a passenger, Ricky Childress, 31, jumped out of the moving car. Officers stopped to attend to Childress and later found the car, unoccupied, less than a mile away.
Childress, of Atlantic City, was questioned and eventually released, but police said he remains a “person of interest.” The car he jumped out of is registered to Sigel’s sister-in-law, Kamilah Salahuddin, 33, police said. It’s unclear who was driving the car. Investigators have been unable to locate Kamilah Salahuddin, Umar’s sister, and consider her a person of interest.
Lack of cooperation from Sigel’s relatives, authorities say, has complicated the investigation. Detectives are relying on forensic evidence such as ballistics and fingerprints to piece together what happened.
“When you have a crime of interpersonal violence, there are two people who clearly know what happened: the suspect and the victim,” Pleasantville Capt. Sean Riggin said Wednesday.
“When we don’t have one of them” and the other one can’t talk, he said, “that’s going to have an obvious detrimental effect.”
Pleasantville police have wavered on whether Sigel was an intended target.
Four days after the shooting, Lt. Danny Adcock said that Sigel was involved in something out of his control and that Sigel was at the “wrong place [at the] wrong time.”
Later that week, however, Riggin said investigators were still determining whether Sigel was a target.
“We don’t know who the intended target was,” he said.
Riggin maintained that assertion this week.
He said ballistic evidence was found at the home where Sigel was discovered bleeding in the finished basement, but he declined to say whether an exchange of gunfire occurred. The home belongs to Umar Salahuddin, who is also being looked at for his involvement in the case.
Sigel had been staying at the home after a stint in a federal prison in Pennsylvania for tax evasion.
Sigel, 40, whose real name is Dwight Grant, grew up on Sigel Street in South Philadelphia and was nicknamed “Beanie” by his grandmother.
As a student at Delaplaine McDaniel Elementary School, he was a good storyteller, he told The Inquirer in 2012.
“You would get 10 or 20 spelling words,” he said, “and you had to write each one in a sentence. But instead of just writing a sentence, I would write a story.”
Sigel came out with albums such as The Truth, his debut in 2000, and This Time, released in 2012, mixing tales of time behind bars and expensive tastes in his lyrics.
For all his success, he also ran into trouble. In 2006, he was shot when a group of men tried to rob him in Philadelphia, police said.
In 2012, Sigel was arrested on drug-possession charges in Delaware County. That same year, he reported to federal prison in the tax-evasion case.
A news release prior to his incarceration said: “Rap star Beanie Sigel to release ‘This Time’ ” – a reference to his album – “just prior to doing time.”
Sigel’s family could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Anyone with information on his case should call Pleasantville police at 609-641-6100.
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