The officer’s son may have been killed in a targeted attack

By Mensah M. Dean and Ximena Conde
The Philadelphia investigator

PHILADELPHIA — Hyram Hill, the son of a Philadelphia police officer who was gunned down in North Philadelphia early Monday, may have been stalked by a nearby store where he worked as a bouncer, police said Tuesday, adding that Detectives investigated the possibility that the killing was a targeted attack.

Hill, 23, was carrying a legally registered gun when he was shot nine times around 4:40 a.m., police said. Hill was drawing his gun when he was approached by two men as he got out of his car in front of a store on Broad Street and Allegheny Avenue, Homicide Captain Jason Smith said.

As detectives hunted the two killers and the tip reward was set at $30.00, the victim’s mother, Philadelphia Police Officer Edwenna Ferguson, a 17-year veteran, sadly commented that her career hadn’t saved her from the torments of the crime Rise of the city liberated gun violence.

“I wear the face of a lot of parents around town,” Ferguson said Tuesday, flanked by family and friends at a news conference at the police union offices, Lodge 5 of the Fraternal Order of Police

“There is nothing bad I can say about this boy. As they get older, they do things that you disagree with. But I was proud of everything my son did,” she said. “With every move he made, I told him you take 10 steps, I’ll take 50 for you.”

“I was proud of everything my son did. Every move he made, I told him you take 10 steps, I’ll take 50 for you.” Hyram Hill’s mother, who is also a Philly police officer, opens up about her son’s shooting. He has a daughter on the way. @NBCPhiladelphia at 11pm pic.twitter.com/VCT1bwQ1mf

— Aaron Baskerville (@ABaskerville10) January 26, 2022

Ferguson noted that being born at 15 gave her direction in her life. She said she was far away in the Poconos when she found out her son had been shot. “I couldn’t be with my baby in his last moments,” she said.

Smith, the homicide commander, said police have yet to agree on a motive for the killing.

“It could be a robbery, but it could also be a targeted attack,” Smith said. “I can’t explain why we think that.”

Detectives believe the killer searched Hill’s pockets and took his handgun, an FN Five-seveN, Smith said.

Philadelphia Police Officer Edweena Ferguson spoke about the death of her 23-year-old son Hyram Hill, who was shot nine times Monday. She urged her family to leave the investigation to the police. She also said her son is expecting a baby girl in two months: https://t.co/Ke2wrG7C3L pic.twitter.com/Ykj4XT2Jwt

— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) January 25, 2022

The attack on Hill not only underscores the gun-fuelled homicide crisis sweeping parts of the city, but also a surge in the number of stolen guns, which some say are helping fuel the killings.

The number of stolen guns in the city hit a new high in 2021 when 1,388 guns were stolen, The Inquirer reported in December. That’s 11% up from 2020, 38% up from 2019 and the highest since 2011, when the first annual figures became available.

Police found a bullet from Hill’s gun at the scene. The condition of the bullet leads them to suspect that he may have drawn his firearm and broke it and ejected that bullet from the gun without firing it, Smith said. They also recovered seven shell casings fired from a 9mm pistol used by one of the attackers.

Ferguson lamented the decision by too many young people to take up arms and commit violent crimes just to “make a name for themselves”.

“He wrote his own story.” Philly Police Officer Edwenna Ferguson says she is proud of her son Hyram Hill, who was shot dead early Monday morning. His family said the 23-year-old has a baby girl on the way. Ferguson asked his family/friends not to take revenge on his killers. pic.twitter.com/FCuSMFLEH2

— Nina Baratti (@Nina_Baratti) January 26, 2022

Her son graduated from West Catholic High School, where he played on the soccer team and once dreamed of being a professional soccer player, Ferguson said.

Two semesters prior to a bachelor’s degree from Cheyney University, Hall had worked full-time at Vision Quest, mentoring troubled teenagers in New Castle, Delaware, she said. She described her son as ambitious and family-oriented.

Hill’s close friend Shaka Toney, who was drafted by the Washington Football Team in 2021, attended Tuesday’s press conference.

Ferguson insisted her son had no criminal record. She said he and his girlfriend would be father to a girl they wanted to name Hyrah in two months.

She called for peace and urged the public to “stand back” and let the police search for the gunmen. “I work for a team of the best homicide detectives here in the city of Philadelphia. They’re the best in the world,” she said.

Hill became the 38th person to be killed in Philadelphia this year, up from 36 at the same time last year, the deadliest year in the city’s history with 562 homicides, according to the police department’s website.

The two men who converged on Hill wore masks and may have fled in a Chevy Malibu, Smith said. Investigators hope the video evidence will help them determine if he was being followed from his place of work.

“We don’t have much direction in this case,” he said. “Not yet.”

On Tuesday, the FOP announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a suspect. The city, as is usual with murders, is offering $20,000.

“Someone has information on this case that could lead to an arrest in the Hyram Hill murder case,” said FOP President John McNesby. “Enough is enough in Philadelphia. We have too many guns and violent criminals on our streets.”

Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call the police at 215-686-TIPS or Homicide at 215-686-3334.

(c) 2022 The Philadelphia Inquirer

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