Police ID Suspect in Najee Rivera Murder, Add Him to Philly’s Most Wanted List

The young father was gunned down on the street last December after reportedly intervening in a fight. Police say the man holding the gun was Khalil Henderson.

Left: Murder victim Najee Rivera. Right: Suspect Khalil Henderson.

Left: Murder victim Najee Rivera. Right: Suspect Khalil Henderson.

Najee Rivera was one of 280 homicide victims in Philadelphia last year, and nearly half of those murders remain unsolved. But Rivera’s girlfriend Dina Scannapieco has been determined see an arrest in the case, and she’s now one step closer.

The Philadelphia Police Department has announced an arrest warrant for murder suspect Khalil Henderson, a 22-year-old man from North Philadelphia. Henderson has been added to Philly’s Most Wanted list.

The shooting occurred on December 5th near the intersection of C and Somerset streets in Kensington. Police say that Rivera intervened in a fight involving two women and Henderson. Henderson allegedly pulled out a gun and shot Rivera. Scannapieco says Rivera didn’t know the women or Henderson.

At first, it seemed like Rivera was going to pull through, says Scannapieco, but then he died from his injuries at Temple University Hospital more than two weeks after the shooting, without an arrest in the case.

“When he died, people were talking, saying that they knew who did it,” says the mother of two. “Well if they knew who it was, why weren’t they telling the cops?”

Scannapieco became a fixture in the neighborhood, asking witnesses to come forward. Shortly after Rivera succumbed to his injuries, she received a text message from one witness, who sent her a photo of Henderson. She contacted police, and they said they were following up on all leads, but January and February went by without any suspect in custody.

Finally, on March 19th, Scannapieco joined forces with local community group Operation Save Our City for a march in the neighborhood where Rivera was shot.

“We went to the exact corner where it happened, and I gave flyers to every single neighbor,” she says. “I pleaded with them to break their silence.”

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The march seems to have been a success. According to Scannapieco, more witnesses came forward, and just over a week after the march, police announced Henderson as the murder suspect.

“He’s driving around in a Mercedes Benz SUV,” says Scannapieco. “My family needs peace and justice.”

There could be more justice to come. After Rivera was severely beaten by police in 2013, Scannapieco found video of the attack at a local business, resulting in charges against police officers Kevin Robinson and Sean McKnight. They go to trial in April.

Police describe murder suspect Henderson as follows:

BLACK MALE 6’02” 175LBS. BLACK HAIR BROWN EYES FULL BEARD LIGHT MUSTACHE SHORT CLOSE HAIR STYLE MEDIUM BROWN COMPLEXION. FREQUENTS 200 BLOCK OF EAST SOMERSET ST. OPERATING A MERCEDES BENZ ML SUV PA TAG KBN-2519

Anyone with information on Henderson’s whereabouts is asked to call the Homicide Division at 215-686-3334 or 911.

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