An arrest was made this week in connection with robberies of transgender women and the murder of a man last week.
On Jan. 15, Philadelphia Police arrested Matthew White. White, 32, was charged with murder, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm, robbery and other related offenses.
In two separate occurrences, White allegedly responded to a trans woman’s personal ad on classifieds-advertising website Backpage.
During the Jan. 8 incident, police say White robbed three transgender women of cash and a cell phone in the Kingsessing area. White fled the scene on foot and allegedly fired one shot from a handgun after one of the women attempted to follow him.
The following night, 19th District Police responded to a call about a shooting in the 5400 block of Girard Avenue. In this incident, police say White attempted to rob a transgender woman, whose ad he also responded to on Backpage.
Philadelphia Police Department spokesperson Lt. John Stanford told PGN last week that 32-year-old Barry Jones, a friend of the woman who was in the residence, heard the commotion and attempted to confront White, whom he said allegedly shot Jones in the head.
Police said White fled on foot after stealing cash and a cell phone from the woman. Jones was later pronounced dead at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center.
"I am very grateful for the tireless effort of the Philadelphia Police Department to arrest the person responsible for these crimes," said Nellie Fitzpatrick, director of the Office of LGBT Affairs. "The efforts to engage the public for assistance were successful in this case. This arrest does not bring back the life lost or erase the trauma inflicted upon the survivors, but one can hope it will bring a sense of peace and justice to those individuals and communities impacted."
A preliminary hearing for White is scheduled for 9 a.m. Feb. 1 in room 306 of the Criminal Justice Center, 1301 Filbert St.