UPPER DARBY >> A gunman who apparently was lying in wait emerged from a dark alley and opened fire on a Philadelphia man getting into his car early Friday, killing the man in a hail of 14 bullets.
Calling the shooting of Eric Lawson a “stone cold hit,” Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said at a Friday afternoon press conference, “To fire 14 shots at somebody at point-blank range, they wanted him dead … There’s no doubt in anybody’s mind it was a hit … what led up to the hit, I don’t know.”
Lawson, who turned 43 on July 8, was pronounced dead at the scene in the unit block of Ludlow Street, despite valiant attempts by police officers and paramedics to save him.
According to Chitwood, Lawson, of the 5300 block of Walnut Street, had been out celebrating his birthday at the SA Cafe on Garrett Road prior to the shooting.
Investigators have obtained a series of videos, which Chitwood played at the press conference.
One segment shows Lawson leaving the establishment at 48 Garrett Road, and walking with two unidentified women. Another segment follows them on Copley Road. Additional segment shows the victim alone on Ludlow, where he had parked his vehicle, a 2012 Bentley, in front of a branch of Wells Fargo Bank. The video show the gunman emerging from the dark alleyway, crossing the street and firing on the victim.
According to Chitwood, police had responded to a call in the unit block of Garrett Road for a report of “a man waving a gun.” The incident appeared to involve groups of women in an argument. Officers were still on the scene when they heard multiple shots coming from the area around the corner.
“Police tried to revive him,” Chitwood said of Lawson, noting their attempts were unsuccessful.
Lawson had been in his car, got out and was starting to get back in when the gunfire erupted.
“Fourteen shots were fired,” Chitwood said.
Mortally wounded, Lawson fell back onto the front passenger side of the vehicle.
“This is not a robbery,” Chitwood said, noting that Lawson was in possession of in excess of $3,200.
“We are looking for help,” Chitwood said. “Somebody has to have seen something.”
In addition to the vehicle, police confiscated two of the victim’s cellphones as evidence.
The only description of the gunman is a black man wearing dark clothing and white sneakers.
Calling Lawson’s criminal history “interesting,” Chitwood said he was arrested in Philadelphia for attempted murder and related offenses in 2008. Lawson eventually pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in that case and was sentenced to serve 18 months to 10 years behind bars. Chitwood said he was released from prison in 2013.
Lawson’s death marks the fourth homicide in Upper Darby this year, one of which was ruled justifiable.
Anyone with information is asked to contact township police at 610-734-7678.