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A 12-year-old is charged with murder in the beating death of a 70-year-old man during a carjacking

Police lights. (Dreamstime/TNS)

A 12-year-old boy has been charged with murder in connection with the December beating death of a 70-year-old man in Mayfair, an incident police believe was the deadly result of a carjacking by several young people.

The boy is one of three defendants under the age of 19 who are facing murder charges in connection with the killing of Chung Yan Chin, who police said was gravely injured in a carjacking just after 7 p.m. on Dec. 2. Prosecutors say the youths approached the victim on the 3000 block of Teesdale Street and knocked him to the ground, then punched and kicked him in the face before stealing his vehicle.

Chin was hospitalized in critical condition with facial fractures and a brain injury, according to court papers. He died of his injuries on Dec. 21. Efforts to reach his family Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Police last month arrested John Nusslein, 18, of Northeast Philadelphia, in connection with the killing, and an arrest warrant has been issued for Qiyam Muhammad, 16, who remains at large.

Nusslein and the 12-year-old have been charged with murder, robbery, conspiracy, and weapons violations. They also face charges of evidence tampering for allegedly removing the car’s license plate after stealing it.

Attorneys representing the boy and Nusslein didn’t respond to requests for comment. Both are being held without bail. A preliminary hearing for the 12-year-old is scheduled for next week. Nusslein’s next court appearance is in April.

Carjackings in Philly are on a record pace. Officials aren’t sure why.

Philadelphia police announced the arrests Tuesday during a virtual briefing on the city’s response to gun violence, which they say includes an increased focus on investigating carjackings. The city has experienced an unusual surge in reports of the crime this year, and the pace is an increase over 2021, which saw more than 800 carjackings — double the amount in 2020, police statistics show.

Other cities including New York and Chicago have seen a similar uptick in carjackings. The spike comes amid record-breaking rates of gun violence in jurisdictions across the country, including Philadelphia, which saw 562 homicides last year, its highest total in modern history.

News of the arrests in the December homicide comes less than two weeks after a suspected carjacker fatally shot a 60-year-old man who was visiting his mother in Northeast Philadelphia. On Feb. 6, George Briscella, a father of four and a Marine Corps veteran, was fatally shot by a man with an assault-style rifle on the 2100 block of Afton Street.

No one has been arrested in connection with the killing.

An earlier version of this story included the name of the suspect, who is a juvenile facing murder charges in adult court. The Inquirer has chosen to remove his name because of his age.

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