NORRISTOWN — A Norristown man faces homicide charges after prosecutors alleged his actions of firing a gun into the home of a neighbor during a dispute directly resulted in the fatal shooting of an occupant of the home.
Khalif Abdulra Sinclair, 23, of the 500 block of West Lafayette Street, was arraigned on Thursday by District Court Judge Francis Lawrence on charges of first- and third-degree murder, person not to possess a firearm, possessing an instrument of crime and recklessly endangering another person in connection with the Nov. 20, 2020, fatal shooting of Abdur Small, who lived next door to Sinclair.
Sinclair is being held without bail at the county jail in Lower Providence while awaiting his Jan. 24 preliminary hearing on the charges before Lawrence.
With the charges, prosecutors alleged Sinclair fired gunshots into the home of his neighbor, causing an occupant of the neighboring home to fire a weapon in self-defense, but striking Small who was standing nearby and who later died.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele and Norristown Police Chief Mark E. Talbot announced Sinclair’s arrest late Thursday shortly after U.S. Marshals took Sinclair into custody at a location in Marcus Hook, Delaware County.
“The defendant went to the residence with the specific intent to kill and his actions directly resulted in the death of Abdur Small,” Steele alleged on Thursday. “If he had not gone to the door of that residence, armed with a handgun and then fired into the residence, the other occupant of the house would not have fired his weapon in self-defense, and Small would still be alive today.”
The investigation began about 5:34 p.m. Nov. 20, when Norristown police responded to a home in the 500 block of West Lafayette Street for a reported shooting. Arriving officers found Small, 21, in the living room of the residence suffering from an apparent gunshot wound to the head, according to the criminal complaint filed by county Detective Anthony Caso and Norristown Police Corporal James Angelucci.
Small was transported to Suburban Community Hospital and later transferred to Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia where he was pronounced dead on Nov. 21. An autopsy determined Small died as a result of a gunshot wound to the head and a single .22-caliber projectile was recovered from Small’s body during the autopsy, according to court papers.
Detectives recovered two fired 9mm cartridge casings and one fired .22-caliber cartridge casing in the living room of Small’s residence, as well as a projectile from the living room wall, court documents indicate.
Detectives also secured and reviewed digital video surveillance footage from the area surrounding Small’s residence. That video footage depicted a 2:45 p.m. Nov. 20 verbal confrontation between Sinclair and several occupants of Small’s residence, according to the criminal complaint. Witnesses claimed Sinclair wanted to fight the occupants of the neighboring home.
Less than three hours later, at approximately 5:30 p.m., according to witness accounts and surveillance video, Sinclair walked onto the porch of Small’s residence. As Small opened the front door, Sinclair fired two shots from his 9mm handgun into the residence, prompting one of the home’s residents to return fire using a .22 caliber firearm, detectives alleged.
Small was closest to the door as the shots were fired and he was struck by a .22-caliber bullet that the autopsy confirmed was fired by one of the home’s other occupants, according to the criminal complaint.
Witnesses described Small as standing between Sinclair and the other occupant who was armed with the .22-caliber weapon. The other occupant of the home claimed to be in fear for their life at the time of the shooting, according to the arrest affidavit.
Authorities did not release the name or gender of the other occupant of the home who fired the .22-caliber weapon. Witnesses claimed the other occupant of the home “accidentally” struck Small.
Sinclair is the only person charged in connection with the incident.
“Sinclair’s specific intent and actions directly resulted in the death of Abdur Small,” Caso and Angelucci alleged in the criminal complaint.
Sinclair allegedly fled toward Chain Street after the shooting and remained on the lam until Thursday.
Authorities alleged a previous protection from abuse order filed against Sinclair prohibited him from possessing a firearm.
A conviction of first-degree murder, an intentional killing, can carry a sentence of life imprisonment or the death penalty. A conviction of third-degree murder, a killing committed with malice, can carry a possible maximum sentence of 20 to 40 years in prison.