Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and Willingboro Township Public Safety Director Kinamo Lomon announced that a 22-year-old Bensalem, Pa., resident was arrested yesterday for fatally shooting a teenager Saturday afternoon at a Willingboro Township gas station. Officials said Mr. Tamir Phillips, of the 3000 block of Knights Road, was charged with Murder (First Degree), Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Second Degree) and Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Second Degree).
He was taken into custody last night at the Prosecutor’s Office and lodged in the Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly. He will have the first appearance this afternoon in Superior Court. The Prosecutor’s Office will seek to detain him. The case will be prepared for presentation to a grand jury for possible indictment.
The investigation began August 21, just before 3 p.m., when Willingboro Township police officers were called to the Phillips 66 gas station in the first block of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive for a report of a shooting.
Upon arrival, they learned that the victim, 14-year-old Jesse Everett of Willingboro, had been transported in a private vehicle to Virtua Willingboro Hospital. He was then airlifted to Cooper University Medical Center in Camden, where he was pronounced dead at 5:24 p.m.
Phillips, who is known to stay in Willingboro, was immediately identified as a suspect in the shooting, and charges were filed against him in the early morning hours of August 22.
The investigation revealed that a day before the shooting, the owner of a 2014 Honda Civic had contacted township police to report that the vehicle had been stolen.
It was determined that the owner of the Civic would frequently allow Phillips to use the car.
The investigation further revealed that just prior to the shooting, Phillips was riding in a vehicle being driven by his girlfriend, Chelsea Holman, 29, of Willingboro, when they spotted the stolen car at the pumps of the gas station.
Holman pulled into the gas station and stopped behind the Civic, which Everett was driving. Phillips exited and went to the driver’s side of the Civic, where he confronted Everett before firing a single shot into the vehicle, striking him in the head.
Two other people were inside the car with Everett but did not sustain injuries. Holman and Phillips drove away after the shooting. She was charged with Hindering Apprehension (Third Degree) and Obstruction of Justice (Fourth Degree). She was not detained. They will be prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Jamie Hutchinson.
The investigation was conducted by the Willingboro Township Police Department and the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, with assistance from the City of Burlington Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force, which includes the Burlington County Sheriff's Department.
The lead investigators are WTPD Det. James Benedict, BCPO Det. Dan Schules and BCPO Det. Kevin Merrigan.