Community members make their voices, concerns heard at Nicetown-Tioga meeting

John McDevitt
August 17, 2019 - 5:46 pm

John McDevitt/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — There was a mix of emotions and concerns at a community meeting, following Wednesday’s shootout and standoff in the city’s Nicetown-Tioga section.

Things got heated at times, many angry about the violence in the city and the lack of action by elected officials.

Politicians, clergy, community leaders and members of the community spoke, and among those traumatized by the standoff on Wednesday was Octavia Abney.

She tells KYW Newsradio that she lived right next door where the gunman was holdup.

Abney says she and her 14, 11 and 4-year-olds laid on the floor for 5 hours as the situation unfolded.

"We could hear everything the shooter was saying, everything the police were saying,” she said. “We could hear at one point, I think the police inside must have been really scared because we could hear him saying, basically telling him like, ‘keep calm don't shoot us,’ and stuff like that. We could hear everything, all the bullets, we could hear EV-ER-RY-THING.”

Reporter: “What do you say to your kids?”

“I explain to them bad things happen to good people,” she said. “No we didn't do anything wrong."

She says the situation ended with SWAT knocking her door down and pointing guns in their faces.

Abney says her family will not move back into the house and need help.

John McDevitt/KYW Newsradio

Philadelphia Councilwoman Cindy Bass organized the weekend meeting. 

"We want to make sure the people have information that they know where they can go,” Bass said. “Where they know where they can go to get food or other services in the community or housing. You know where she can go to get housing.”

Resident Dolores Davis visibly shaken is still trying to heal.

"It is traumatizing, because I'm thinking how many people could of gotten hurt. He could have been killed. But I'm thankful that didn't happen,” she said tearfully.

Information about mental health, housing and other services were made available to the community.