Community and police bond in Nicetown-Tioga neighborhood where shootout took place

John McDevitt
October 05, 2019 - 5:20 pm

John McDevitt/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Police and residents came together at a block party in Nicetown-Tioga on Saturday, on the same street where six officers were shot and wounded during a 7-hour standoff in August.

Residents along 15th Street got to enjoy games, food, and music.

Capt. Jarreau Thomas is Commanding Officer of the Police Athletic League, the organization which helped put on the event. 

"Hearing about some of the stories, some of our young people, you know being traumatized after the incident... That day they saw police officers out here with SWAT uniforms,"  explained Thomas. 

"Policing is so much more than what they saw that day. And we want to make sure that they are aware, that you know...we are not the enemy. We are part of the community," he continued. 

Many residents are still in the healing process from the gun battle that took place nearly two months ago. 

Like Octavia Abney, she lived right next door to where the gunman was barricaded. She and her three children where laying on the floor of their place for several hours that day, until SWAT officers busted her door down.

"It's definitely has been an adjustment. I'm on my way out of this neighborhood. I wanted to stay but for my kids and stuff...like its more healthy to move out of this," she said. 

She says her kids are getting the help the need to heal. 

"Some things are coming together. My kids are receiving mental health help from the situation."

In addition to couselling services, the city is also helping Octavia and her kids with new housing. The properties that were damaged in the shootout are also getting repairs with city leader's help. 

Residents said although the party is nice, "it's like putting lipstick on a pig." A neighbor told KYW Newsradio that it doesn't change the problem of gun violence and poverty running rampant in the city.