It was the biggest mass killing in the city's history. But that doesn't begin to tell the story of what happened that night in West Philadelphia.
The air was thick with anticipation as nearly a dozen crack dealers gathered in the Chan Long Chinese takeout restaurant at June and Brown streets in Mill Creek, a long forgotten section of West Philadelphia.
As the men stood peering out the Chinese restaurant window, George "Jig" Porter, 18, a dealer who had seen his share of shootings and drug deals on that very corner, stood confidently among the group.
One of the dealers, Quiante Perrin, 19, lived next door to Porter's young business partner, 15-year-old Samuel Malik Harris Jr., known as Malik, in the Mill Creek housing project. Another, 23-year-old Hezekiah "Griz" Thomas, allegedly sold drugs with Shawn Crews, one of Porter's rivals. But like Perrin, he knew Porter.
When Porter left the restaurant to talk to a friend on the corner, he didn't notice the other dealers watching him.
"They knew what they was about to do that night," says a former dealer who witnessed the scene. "It was like, nine or 10 people just looking. I can imagine what they was thinking."
Porter and Harris had been warned by the other dealers to stop selling high-quality crack cocaine at half-price from the house on Lex Street. But Porter couldn't possibly have imagined what ignoring those warnings would mean.
Porter left the restaurant with another man and went to the drug house at 816 Lex St. When Porter went inside, police say the other man gave a signal.
A few minutes later, police say Shawn Crews met with Perrin, Thomas, Jermel Lewis, 23, and Sacon Youk, 19, in the Chinese restaurant at June and Brown.
Two of Porter's friends, Tyrone "Guy" Long, 18, and Calvin "CJ" Helton, 19, were already inside the house on Lex Street.
Long, neighbors and relatives say, was working with Porter, selling drugs at the house. But his "shift" was not supposed to begin until 10 that night.
CJ Helton's mother, who lives in North Philadelphia, insists her son was not selling drugs. But neighbors in Mill Creek say he had been selling drugs with Porter since he lost his job in October.
That night, according to friends and relatives, Long and Helton went to the house on Lex Street and smoked a blunt before Long's shift. Malik Harris, Porter's 15-year-old partner, was guarding the door.
Two men knocked on the door. Apparently recognizing them, Harris let them in. Two masked men rushed in from behind the unmasked men. All four had guns.
One of the gunmen grabbed Guy Long and took him to the upstairs bedroom that his aunt, Yvette Long, a longtime crack addict, rented from the house's occupant, 37-year-old Craig "40" Kilby. Another gunman went upstairs with them. Crime scene photos show freshly splintered wood around Long's bedroom door, indicating that the killers forced the door open.
Then, according to reports, the man holding Guy Long at gunpoint threatened to kill his Aunt Yvette and the others if they didn't give up everything they had.
The gunmen then forced the occupants of a second bedroom into Yvette Long's room. They tried to get all six to lie on the floor. When they couldn't fit all the victims into the tiny, neatly arranged bedroom, the gunmen took them downstairs.
The other two gunmen already had George Porter and Malik Harris--the dealers who were their main targets--lying in the middle of the floor along with Calvin "CJ" Helton.
PW's 2014 College Issue
PW's Music Issue 2014