Hunt is on for suspect in Trax slaying

A man twice arrested for violent criminal behavior and illegal possession of a weapon  — and twice let free when witnesses failed to appear in court — is now sought in connection with the early morning robbery and murder of a 50-year-old clerk at Trax Food Store in Kensington South.

The crime occurred May 26 at the 24-hour convenience store, located at Front Street and Girard Avenue, just before 3 a.m.

On Friday, police said that Quasheam Richburg, 20, of the 2500 block of Ridge Drive — near 27th Street and Ridge Avenue — is a suspect in the murder of Moustafa Shaker, the clerk gunned down last week.

Shortly after the murder, police released video of the brash crime in which two men, one now believed to be Richburg, can be seen storming into the convenience store, at 1204 N. Front Street, at about 2:53 a.m. on May 26.

A surveillance camera captured video, available at www.phillypolice.com, of the men confronting Shaker.

The accomplice, described by police as a black male in his late teens, about 5 foot 7 inches to 5 foot 10 inches tall, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, seems to be demanding money while the taller male, wearing a baseball cap and brandishing a sawed-off shotgun, keeps his sights trained on Shaker. Police believe Richburg held the gun and fatally shot Shaker.

After Shaker refused to give them money, the suspects tried to take the register.

Police said at this time, Shaker attempted to flee.

 That’s when police said Richburg opened fire, hitting Shaker once in the head.

After the first shot, the assailants initially began to flee the store, only to stop a few feet away before turning back and heading inside.

A frighteningly clear image of the man police now believe to be Richburg can be seen in surveillance footage.

It shows the gunman standing in the doorway of the store, coldly raising the gun before firing one more time into the shop.

The second man ran into the store and headed off camera. After he returned to view, both men fled on foot.

Shaker died at the scene.

In July of last year, Richburg was charged with robbery, terroristic threats, simple assault, theft and false imprisonment — only to have those charges later dropped when a witness twice failed to testify, according to court documents.

He was arrested again in November 2010 and charged with robbery, carrying a firearm without a license, theft, simple assault and reckless endangerment following a Nov. 12 incident.

Again, charges were withdrawn when a witness failed to appear in court.

More recently, in April, Richburg was arrested for openly carrying a firearm without a license.

Police are asking anyone who might have information on Richburg’s whereabouts or might have information that could lead to an arrest to contact the Philadelphia Police Homicide Unit at 215-686-3334 or call 911.

Reporter Hayden Mitman can be reached at 215-354-3124 or hmitman@bsmphilly.com