Gun range shooter to prison, stolen pistols missing

A man who led the armed robbery of two senior citizen patrons of a Northeast Philadelphia gun range last year has been sentenced to decades behind bars, while one of his victims continues to suffer the effects of gunshot injuries sustained in the stick-up.

During last Thursday’s Common Pleas Court hearing, Judge Robert P. Coleman ordered Jeffrey Chandler to serve 21 to 42 years in state prison, just shy of the 25-to-50-year sentence sought by Assistant District Attorney Tracie Gaydos for the defendant.

Chandler, 29, of the 4900 block of Walnut St. in West Philly, and a woman conspirator ambushed a 68-year-old man and his 67-year-old friend outside the Delaware Valley Sports Center, 101 Geiger Road, in Bustleton on June 12, 2014. The robbers pointed guns at the victims and demanded their valuables. Although the victims raised their hands to surrender, Chandler shot the older man in the leg anyway. The slug severed a major artery in the man’s groin area. As he bled, the robbers grabbed two duffel bags containing nine guns from the wounded man’s car and fled. The crooks also made off with a cell phone battery from the younger victim.

The gun range owner, three police officers and a paramedic administered first aid to the critically wounded victim, who was rushed to a local hospital for emergency surgery. He remained there for three weeks and still has a stent in his leg. He has lingering pain and walks with difficulty.

While investigating the heist, police linked a similar crime one day earlier to the same culprits. It occurred at Yury’s Gun Range, 544 N. Percy St. in Callowhill. In that instance, the robbers swiped two guns from a man, 68. No shots were fired.

After investigators obtained surveillance video of the robbers and showed it publicly, the accomplice surrendered to police on June 13, 2014. She was identified as Samiyyah Poteat, 21, of the 4600 block of Walnut St. Poteat implicated Chandler and eventually pleaded guilty to multiple counts of robbery, conspiracy, weapons violations and related offenses. The prosecutor agreed to recommend a state prison sentence of three to 10 years. Her sentencing will be on Sept. 17.

Chandler remained on the lam until June 24, 2014, when police tracked him down with the help of cell phone records and search warrants. He pleaded guilty on March 26 to aggravated assault, multiple robberies, conspiracy, firearms violations and related offenses. He had no sentencing agreement with the prosecutor.

During his sentencing hearing, Chandler offered no specific motive for the robberies or the unprovoked shooting, Gaydos said. Authorities have not recovered 10 of the 11 stolen guns, the exception being one gun they recovered from Chandler. ••