Frankford community rallies against gun violence almost a week after 10-year-old shot in drive-by

Antionette Lee
November 13, 2019 - 9:39 pm
The Frankford community came together Wednesday night to rally around the family of a 10-year-old boy who was shot last week as he was walking home from school.

Antionette Lee/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Frankford community came together Wednesday night to rally around the family of a 10-year-old boy who was shot last week as he was walking home from school. 

Tears rolled down Semaj O'Branty's mother's eyes as church leaders, organizers, and community members surrounded her in a circle. They sang and prayed for her child's recovery and for healing of the Frankford community. 

"Semaj and his sister and his mom, they volunteered, help us feed 300 kids a day and they were very active in our feeding program for children," said Rev. Richard Smith, who leads the local church the family attends and does volunteer work. 

Cheri Honkala was one of the dozens who helped form a circle of support around O'Branty's mother.

"We're really praying that he pulls through this thing completely," she said. 

She's known O'Branty his whole life. 

Related: Uncle of 10-year-old shot in head in Frankford charged for returning fire; shooter still at-large

"He has been raised with morals and values, very polite, very much a leader. He's just one of those kids that stands out, that helps other kids and helps other people in the neighborhood and for him, it's jut very normal to help other people," she added. 

The group acknowledged the support of the 15th District police and the DA's office with gratitude, but Honkala says they need even more support.

"Unless we begin to put resources — after-school programs, recreation centers and really, jobs — you're never going to see an end to the violence. And I wanna hear some people talking about that. I wanna go to these community meetings and have them be packed with every single City Councilmember, state rep., you name it, because then I feel like 10-year-old little kids matter," Honkala said. 

Smith is also asking for help to find the child's shooter — police say the shooter was last seen driving a red Pontiac G6