The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Wednesday, January 21, 2004  

A Shooting Nearby

Last evening as I approached my building at the start of rush hour I noticed traffic was moving unusually slowly, if at all, circumstances that, as you might expect, led quickly to much honking of automobile horns, rolling down of windows, and groundhogging from drivers on my street. As I walked closer to home, I saw a number of vans sporting the logos of the local television stations. Still nearer, I noticed at least five police cars.

Something’s going down, I thought. I walked a bit farther and soon decided it must be some sort of ruckus at Planned Parenthood’s building, an assumption based in part on seeing several PP “escorts” in front of the facility. Not being particularly interested in street-level theological or ideological disputes, I headed inside.

Boy, was I wrong. It was a shooting. And not a robbery or a dispute over drugs or a prostitute (which does occur around here, though I hasten to add this really is a nice neighborhood), it was road rage.

The Philadelphia Daily News today reports (“Road-rage Incident Sparks Shooting,” by Simone Weichselbaum):

It all began when two drivers cut each other off while driving on North Broad Street shortly before 4:30 p.m., police said.

Now, that’s disturbing, purely from a road-rage perspective, because North Broad isn’t all that close to here.


They flipped each other the finger, then continued driving erratically toward Center City. Finally, one of the drivers, Tarik Bembery, 23, pulled over on Locust Street near 12th to drop off his girlfriend, a passenger in his Pontiac station wagon.

“Flipped each other the finger.” You’ve just gotta love the Daily News. I wonder what the New York Times style guide advises for this. “Exchanged vulgar gestures”?


At that point, police said the other driver, Sebastino Garro, 24, pulled his Cadillac El Dorado over a half a block down Locust and walked toward Bembery waving a collapsible baton.

Seeing the threat, Bembery pulled out a .50 caliber Desert Eagle, a powerful handgun, and fired three shots -- one striking Garro’s leg, police said.

Garro was hospitalized and a pedestrian was wounded slightly.

God, I love this city. I really do.

(Hey, look at this. You may remember that I mentioned having found it strange that Philadelphians, like the Brits, call the sidewalk “the pavement.” If you didn’t believe me, here it is in the first sentence of the PDN article to which I’ve linked: “A road rage showdown exploded on Locust Street in Center City yesterday afternoon, as blood and bullets splattered the pavement, leaving two men wounded.” Weird, isn’t it?)

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