PHILADELPHIA – A former Marine was charged in a road-rage shooting that critically injured a motorist driving his 8-year-old daughter to her home in suburban Philadelphia, police said Tuesday.
Authorities thanked the public for helping to find suspect Christian Squillaciotti, 33, who had been at large for about a week. He was arrested Monday at his South Philadelphia home and charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and other offenses.
"We have our guy," Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel said. "No one else is wanted."
Authorities accuse Squillaciotti of firing at Thomas Timko on Oct. 5 after their vehicles crossed the Walt Whitman Bridge from New Jersey into Philadelphia.
Timko, 41, of Glendora, N.J., was driving his daughter to her home in Norristown and had pulled over his SUV for some reason on Interstate 76. He re-entered traffic around 8:40 p.m. and may have cut off Squillaciotti, police said.
Gestures were exchanged and Squillaciotti fired, striking Timko in the head, Bethel said. Timko's daughter, who was unhurt, told police she heard two bullets hit the rear passenger-side window.
Timko was able to pull over to the side of the expressway near the Passyunk Avenue exit, where the car was found about an hour later.
Police had been following a lead that a gray Ford pickup truck was seen exiting at Passyunk Avenue after the shooting. Authorities first released sample photos of a similar vehicle, followed by an image of the actual truck taken from a video camera at the bridge toll plaza.
The ensuing anonymous tips led authorities to Squillaciotti. Police recovered the truck and several weapons from his house, but not the gun that shot Timko, Bethel said.
Police released few details about Squillaciotti, except to say that he has a martial arts background and was honorably discharged from the Marines. He has no criminal record, Bethel said.
Squillaciotti was still being processed Tuesday morning, and Bethel did not know if he had an attorney.
It appears Squillaciotti did not know there was a child in Timko's car, Bethel said.
Bethel urged motorists to be less aggressive. He noted that recently, while driving an unmarked car, he pulled over a driver who had flashed an obscene hand gesture at him for not moving fast enough.