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Repeat offender in Philadelphia accused of murdering 4 people in 2 separate shootings just days apart

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A young Philadelphia man with a long rap sheet is now in custody after he allegedly shot and killed four people and wounded another during a deadly string of violence earlier this year.

On January 3, police say 24-year-old Edwin Vargas committed the city’s first homicide of 2023. At around 2 a.m. that morning, Vargas was riding along West Hunting Park Avenue in a car with at least two others: a driver and a 28-year-old male, later identified as Caesar Santos. At some point, Vargas allegedly drew a gun and fatally shot Santos in the head. The driver of the vehicle crashed soon afterward but managed to escape from the vehicle with just minor injuries to his hands.

Though police eventually arrested Vargas in connection to that shooting, “[u]nfortunately that arrest came seven days too late,” said Philadelphia police Staff Inspector Ernest Ransom. The reason Ransom believes the arrest came too late is because Vargas has also been charged in connection to a horrific shooting that occurred just days after Santos was shot and killed.

On the evening of January 9, Vargas and three other suspects supposedly sat in a minivan in the Mayfair section of Philadelphia, waiting for several men to return from shopping at a nearby mall. At around 10 p.m. that night, the suspects exited the vehicle and began firing multiple rounds at four men who were then walking down the street.

When police arrived, they found 18-year-old Christopher Bautista and 19-year-old Miguel Delgado dead at the scene. Miguel Santos, a 24-year-old father of three children, was taken to the hospital, where he later died from his injuries. A fourth victim, a 28-year-old male whose name has not been released, has thus far survived the shooting but is said to be in critical condition.

At the scene, investigators found several shopping bags and a new pair of shoes. They also found 50 shell casings. Reports have characterized the shooting as an “ambush,” and police say that the victims had been “targeted.”

Vargas has been arrested for the January 3 shooting and charged with a slew of violent crimes, including murder, illegal possession of a firearm, carrying a firearm without a license, carrying a firearm in public, possession of a criminal instrument with intent to use, and reckless endangerment of another person. Deputy Commissioner Frank Vanore stated that police had also obtained an arrest warrant for Vargas in connection to the quadruple shooting on January 9, but the details of that warrant are unknown. Police are still searching for three other suspects in connection to the quadruple shooting.

Though just 24 years old, Vargas already has a lengthy criminal history. In 2016, he pled guilty to firearms charges, and last July, he pled guilty to illegal possession of a telecom device by an inmate, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The Inquirer also mentioned that Vargas may have actually been arrested on January 18 in connection to a “gun incident” on December 30, not the Santos murder, but no other outlet has mentioned the alleged gun incident, and Blaze Media calls to the Philadelphia police to confirm that arrest went unanswered.

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