Suspect in Philadelphia shooting believed to be mentally ill, law enforcement source says

The man accused of firing at random while wearing body armor and killing five people in a Philadelphia neighborhood Monday is believed to be mentally ill, a senior law enforcement source briefed on the investigation told NBC News.

A motive in the shootings, which spanned multiple scenes over several blocks in the city’s southwest side around 8:30 p.m. Monday, is under investigation, officials said.

The district attorney said if there are mental health issues those are addressed by expert examinations ordered by a court. He expected the exams to be ordered.

At Wednesday’s arraignment, Kimbrady Carriker, 40, was ordered held without bail.

The gunman was wearing a ballistic vest and ski mask and had a police scanner, officials said. He was armed with what police have described as an AR-style rifle and a handgun.

In addition to the rifle, Carriker had a 9mm handgun which the district attorney’s office described as a “ghost gun,” or a firearm with no serial number.

More than 60 spent .223-caliber shell casings have been found, along with nine 9mm shell casings, the district attorney’s office said Wednesday.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said the violence was “essentially a random shooting.”

The victims were 15 to 59 years old.

Two children, ages 2 and 13, where also shot, police said. The 2-year-old was among five people in a Jeep Cherokee that was fired upon by Carriker, the district attorney’s office said. A second 2-year-old was injured by shattered glass.

Investigators searching Carriker’s home found a will in his handwriting dated June 23, Assistant District Attorney Robert Wainwright said. There was also a .380-caliber handgun and a .223-caliber ammunition at the home, he said.

Carriker made several social media posts about guns and shared posts from pro-gun groups, the senior law enforcement official said. A number of the postings have since been taken down and appear to be contradictory in nature, the official cautioned, meaning the posts could be supportive of different ideologies or beliefs.

The DA declined to comment on social media posts.

Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore said that investigators now know that Carriker “was exhibiting abnormal behavior for quite a while, in the fact that he was wearing this vest and had these guns inside of his house.”

“Like we say in a lot of other cases, if you see something, say something,” she said at Wednesday’s news conference. “There were other people living in that house that observed his behavior.”

They said Carriker wore the vest in the past, she said.

“I guess it wasn’t abnormal to them, but I believe they thought he was getting more and more agitated as the days were passing, and their way of dealing with it was just to avoid it and not interfere with him,” she said.

There were seven other people living in the house, Wainwright said. At least one of those people “described him as becoming more agitated recently, those were the words — recently,” Wainwright said.

During the shooting, the brother of one of the people who was killed picked up a handgun that his brother legally had on him, and returned fire at Carriker, Wainwright said.

That person had been taken into custody but was released without charge, and officials said he acted in self-defense. He fired seven shots at Carriker, Wainwright said. Carriker was not hit.

Carriker will be assigned a public defender. A spokesperson for the Defender Association of Philadelphia declined to comment Wednesday.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced a lawsuit Wednesday that he said was targeting “ghost guns,” a term used to describe firearms made through parts or kits sold by mail. The complaint is against two companies, and has been in the works for over a year, he said.

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