Did Accused Cop Shooter Smuggle a Gun Into Jail?
A female prisoner couldn’t believe what she saw Scott Griffin do inside a police holding cell, just a month before he allegedly shot a young Philly cop.
Let’s rewind to March 16th. Griffin and another man, Keith Wilkinson, were being held at the 18th District’s headquarters in West Philadelphia for suspected car theft. A detective showed up at the district’s holding cells to interview a woman who was being held in an unrelated case.
She had an urgent tip for the detective. “There’s a gun in the trashcan,” she told him, according to police records obtained by Philadelphia magazine. “That guy put a gun in the trashcan.”
That guy, according to the records, was Griffin, who allegedly dumped a handgun into a trashcan outside of the female cellblock area, which he would have passed while being led to the male holding cells.
The detective peered into the trashcan. Lo and behold, there was a black .380 caliber semiautomatic that was loaded with one bullet in the chamber and six in a magazine. Griffin was charged with four gun offenses, including “introduce weapon may be use escape,” and held on $150,000 bail, according to court records.
On April 12th, Municipal Court Judge Joyce Eubanks dismissed the charges against Griffin for lack of evidence. Five days later, Griffin allegedly shot Officer James McCullough at 59th and Market streets in West Philadelphia, after a woman flagged down the 24-year-old cop and his partner, and told them Griffin and another man, Samir Coyett, had tried to carjack her.
Griffin and Coyett have both been charged with attempted murder and related offenses.
Cameron Kline, a spokesman for District Attorney Seth Williams, said prosecutors re-filed the gun charges against Griffin on April 13th. It’s unclear why Eubanks opted to dismiss the charges, based on the account of the cellblock incident in police records. A woman who answered the phone in Eubanks’s office this morning said the judge was in court.
Police Commissioner Richard Ross said an internal investigation has been launched to determine how Griffin managed to smuggle a weapon into the district’s cellblock. “Someone will be held accountable,” he said. “You’re supposed to search prisoners before you transfer them.”
Griffin — or another prisoner, for that matter — could have easily tried to use the gun on the unsuspecting cops inside the building. “We could have had a different type of tragedy,” Ross said.
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