Police are on the hunt for suspect in murder of Frankford man


De­tect­ives are look­ing for a North Phil­adelphia man in con­nec­tion with the Jan. 1 murder of a Frank­ford res­id­ent.

Po­lice said they are seek­ing Chris­toph­er John­son, 30, in the shoot­ing death of 47-year-old Ger­ard “Ir­ish” Mark­ert. Po­lice also said they be­lieve an­oth­er man might have been in­volved.

The vic­tim was shot sev­er­al times in the back and neck at about 1:30 a.m. on the 4100 block of Orch­ard St., where he lived, po­lice said. He died while be­ing taken to Temple Uni­versity Hos­pit­al, po­lice said.

Mark­ert’s death is con­nec­ted to an auto ac­ci­dent at Wom­rath Street and Frank­ford Av­en­ue that oc­curred shortly be­fore the shoot­ing, po­lice said. The Rev. John Large, pas­tor of Ma­ter Dol­orosa R.C. Church, said a candle­light vi­gil was held in­side the Frank­ford church on Jan. 4. The pas­tor said Mark­ert is from a fam­ily with a long his­tory in the neigh­bor­hood, and the Jan. 4 ser­vice as well as the Mass of Chris­ti­an Buri­al on Jan. 7 were well-at­ten­ded.

Mark­ert is sur­vived by his moth­er, Helen Mark­ert; chil­dren, Ger­ard Paul Mark­ert Jr. and Court­ney Blair; grand­child, Jax­on; sis­ters Eileen Horn and Nancy Nel­son; and many aunts, uncles, cous­ins, nieces and neph­ews. 

He had at­ten­ded St. Joachim’s and Ma­ter Dol­orosa par­ish schools be­fore at­tend­ing North Cath­ol­ic and then Frank­ford High School.

Mark­ert was very proud of his Ir­ish her­it­age, his sis­ter said.

“His fa­vor­ite day was St. Patrick’s Day,” said Horn.

“My uncle Gerry was a de­cent man with good in­ten­tions and a big warm heart,” his niece Katie Ann Horn said as she de­livered his eu­logy last week.

“He was a wise-crack­er. Al­ways telling jokes, al­ways mak­ing us laugh,” she said.

Horn said her broth­er was a cre­at­ive and handy guy who was in the pro­cess of start­ing his own home-re­pair busi­ness. He painted and wrote po­etry but also was ad­ept at car­pentry.

“He was good with his hands,” she said.

He also was not someone who would back away from a fight, es­pe­cially if a re­l­at­ive or neigh­bor was in­volved.

“He wouldn’t take any­thing from any­one,” she said.

On the morn­ing he died, she said, a second-cous­in was in­volved in a traffic ac­ci­dent. She said she learned that the oc­cu­pants of the oth­er car told the re­l­at­ive they wanted $1,000 when the cous­in tried to ex­change in­form­a­tion after the ac­ci­dent.

She said the re­l­at­ive drove away, but the oth­er men fol­lowed him to the 4100 block of Orch­ard St. and tried to pull him out of his car. Mark­ert, who lived on that block, saw what was hap­pen­ing and raced to his re­l­at­ive’s aid. Horn said punches were thrown but the fight broke up.

She said the oth­er men drove around the neigh­bor­hood and then spot­ted Mark­ert on an­oth­er re­l­at­ive’s front step. One of them ran up to him, shot him three times and then shot him again after he fell. Horn said po­lice of­ficers put him in a patrol car to take him to Temple Uni­versity Hos­pit­al, but Mark­ert died on the way.

John­son, whose last known ad­dresses are on the 1100 block of W. Ven­ango and the 1300 block of 66th Ave., is wanted on murder and con­spir­acy charges in Mark­ert’s death. He is black with a light com­plex­ion, 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighs about 250 pounds, po­lice said.

As the Times went to press, de­tect­ives had no in­form­a­tion on the oth­er man.

Any­one with in­form­a­tion about John­son should call De­tect­ive John Har­kins of the Phil­adelphia Po­lice De­part­ment’s hom­icide unit at 215-686-3334. ••


You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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