At 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, a 55-year-old South Philadelphia woman was talking to a man near a red pickup truck when she suddenly panicked.
“Are not!” She can be heard crying in a video that appeared on Twitter.
The woman dashed across the street when the man reached into the back of the truck and ran after her. He held a gun in his raised right hand.
“Or call 911! Or call 911! Or call 911! Or call 911!” she shouted.
The man fired five times, shots that sounded more deliberate than rushed. The woman threw on the sidewalk, seriously injured. Her death became the city’s 500th homicide this year, matching the all-time record set in 1990. And there are still 38 days left in the year.
“Every murder carries with it a profound sense of loss,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said in a statement. “However, for our City to reach such a tragic milestone – 500 lives truncated – it carries a weight that is virtually incomprehensible indeed.”
The latest murder victim was in the last seven hours of her life at 9:30 a.m. that morning, when this impending milestone in the mayhem prompted Mayor Jim Kenney to hold a news conference at Town hall. Kenney stood with Outlaw and city, state and federal officials, along with a host of community leaders.
“It was crazy,” Kenney said of the unprecedented carnage. “It’s just crazy and this needs to stop.”
Back in 1990, 67.4% of homicides involved guns. The number has now exceeded 80 percent. Kenney focuses on the easy availability of firearms in the city due to lax state laws. The legislature banned any municipality from establishing its own gun control measures.
“We know that common sense gun regulation saves lives,” says Kenney. “We have [only] to look across the river to New Jersey, where strong gun laws mean the per capita rate of gun deaths is less than half the rate in Pennsylvania. ”
Kenney said he can load the trunk of his car at one of the regular big gun shows in the nearby town of Oak and sell them to city offenders without worrying about getting into trouble. tangled. The Republican-controlled legislature recently rejected Philadelphia’s attempt to require residents to report the loss or theft of a gun. And that means someone selling a felony firearm could simply offer an explanation if it was used in a murder and traced back to him.
“It was stolen from my car”… “My house was stolen”… “I lost it,” Kenney said. “There are no consequences. Is crazy. That person should go to jail with someone who used it to kill someone. “
Meanwhile, police are on track to recover more than 6,000 crime guns this year — 2,000 more than last year. And Commissioner Outlaw was able to tell the press conference that although the number of homicides is breaking records, the homicide rate has dropped slightly in recent weeks.
A bit of good news in light of the murders that may be partly due to the fact that the police are focusing on the “exact area”. Some credit should also be given to violent disruptors who work hard. Council member Curtis Jones went so far as to declare, “There is hope.”
Jones reported that anti-violence activists from an organization called the House of Umoja went door-to-door in West Philadelphia, asking people to sign their names. Imani Pledge of Peace. This oath dates back to 1974, when 32 gangs in the city called for an armistice and banded together to protect a farmers market. The current pledge applies to the current holiday, when we are supposed to count our blessings, not record murders.
“It’s only from Thanksgiving weekend through Monday that we’re not going to shoot each other, that we’re going to let people live so they can have a peaceful Thanksgiving,” Jones said.
The efforts of such peace advocates and various city agencies and social service groups, along with the police department, are coordinated by the Office of Police and the Strategic Initiative on Criminal Justice and Public Safety, led by Erica Atwood. She spoke to The Daily Beast about her plan to tackle everything from intergenerational trauma to economic viability in what she notes is the poorest major city in America. But she has joined the mayor in focusing on the flow of guns into Philadelphia at the moment.
“We’re looking at a jurisdiction that doesn’t have any control over how guns get in and out and the penalties around that,” she told The Daily Beast. “So that’s where we really focus…how do we get rid of the harmful stuff?”
Atwood said the same thing at the briefing, where among those in attendance was Chantay Love, whose 20-year-old brother, Emir Greene, was shot seven times in the back on March 26, 1997. She’s still there. even wounded in her voice when she told The Daily Beast about him on Tuesday night.
“He was an artist, he drew,” she recalls. “He is a funny guy. It’s no big deal when he comes home to a homeless person who hasn’t eaten and we’re feeding. He can’t see people go without. “
Such a loss, she said, “changes the entire family’s DNA.”
She and her mother, Victoria Love, adopted the initials Emir when they founded the victim support group Every Murder Is Real (EMIR). Authorities notify EMIR every time there is a murder in Philadelphia so her team can do what they can to support the family. Most murders receive little or no public attention.
But the whole country was shocked on November 21, when Jessica Covington, 32 years old and her unborn child were shot and killed when she unloads presents from the bathroom for her baby. She was shot 11 times in the stomach, leading detectives to believe the gunman was intentionally trying to end his life before taking his first breath. The investigation is underway.
This is two days after Sykes Patton, 24, was fatally shot as she walked her two 4-year-old sons home from school. Police arrested her 28-year-old ex-boyfriend, Donovan Crawford. The incident was recorded as the 35th domestic violence homicide of the year, up from 18 in all of 2020. The mayor suggested the increase could be related to the pandemic, as “everybody is quiet. in the house, go crazy.” But that also applies to much of last year, and it looks like something else must be going on.
“We have a pandemic and a plague,” Love said.
On Tuesday, Love was informed that a security guard and a man from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, had gotten into a deadly dispute at Christmas Village, a German holiday market slated to officially open. open on friday. Police say the security guard went to his car to retrieve a pistol from a bag. The result was the city’s 499th murder of the year.
The city was one of the killers from holding onto its all-time record as Love became the final speaker at City Hall. She describes the pain of all families who have lost loved ones to murder, not just those who have become the subject of public attention.
“When you lose someone, your life completely changes,” she says. “You are not the family you used to be. That block has changed. That school is different. That business is different. That hospital is different.”
And this is especially true on holidays like Thanksgiving.
“A sweet potato is not the same,” she said. “A turkey is not the same.”
She reported that a young survivor texted her: “Hey queen, you know, struggling.”
And she read out her response: “We love you and believe in you. You are smart enough to be the best person God wants you to be. You are motivated enough to follow your dream and make it come true. Are you brave enough to say no to anyone and anything that is not in your favor. You have the courage to ask for help. You learn from your lessons and mistakes. You are great.”
She told the group that when all the agencies, officials and activists were brought together, the record-breaking violence could lead them to finally put an end to it.
“This is different because we are all aiming for a solution,” she said. “The world is watching and we will produce. We are not the only city, but we are brave enough to say that we will win in this city. “
She claims that her biggest ambition is to stop the business.
“We won’t stop until we stop wiping our tears. Until I didn’t ask, ‘I need to hire another five mentors this week.’ Until someone came to my door and said, ‘Hey sister, Shante, queen of love. I heard that you’re all packing up the bags and going for something else. ‘ And I would say, ‘Yes.’
In the meantime, she will continue to be alerted every time another family needs her team’s help. She left City Hall on Wednesday morning knowing it was only a matter of time before the record-breaking 500th murder. That came less than six hours later. She awaits the announcement that she will begin the process again of trying to heal what cannot be completely healed.
“Usually the next morning,” Love said.
That would make it Thanksgiving, when turkeys don’t resemble those who have lost a loved one.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/500-homicides-later-the-deadliest-year-in-philadelphias-history?source=articles&via=rss 500 murders later, deadliest year in Philadelphia history