Outreach begins to heal community following Nicetown-Tioga standoff

Cherri Gregg
August 15, 2019 - 1:47 pm

Cherri Gregg/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Victim services nonprofits in the area began outreach on Thursday to help residents deal with the trauma of witnessing the standoff in the Nicetown-Tioga neighborhood on Wednesday night. 

Rosalind Pichardo is the founder of Operation Save Our City, a crisis responder and victim services nonprofit. She was at the hospital and on Erie Avenue assisting families displaced during the standoff on Wednesday. "Watching this thing go down live—it was very intense," she said. 

She says many people were told to leave their homes, many of whom had few personal items and minimal funds.

"Some people didn't know where to go, some people didn't know what to do. It was just that intense," she says.

Pichardo notes that a local church opened its doors to give residents a place to go. 

Courtesy of Britt James Carpenter

Thursday morning she headed back to the area to help folks deal with the psychological aftermath of the events. 

"People are willing to talk about this," she said.

"The neighborhood is traumatized," says J. Jondhi Harrell, founder and executive director of the Center for Returning Citizens (TCRC) Community Healing Center near Broad Street and Erie Avenue. He used Facebook to livestream the intial confrontation from 15th Street and Erie Avenue.

He says the residents are a big part of his concern, because many have never experienced a gunfight live.

"It was a war zone," said Harrell.

But he's also concerned about returning citizens. Alleged shooter, 36-year-old Maurice Hill, had an extensive criminal record. Harrell says that community already faces barriers, and that he fears the backlash.

"Anytime there is an incident where there are multiple officers injured by a shooting of a returning citizen it's going to damage our reputation, damage our work and make things more difficult," says Harrell.

Harell is opening the doors of the TCRC Community Healing Center at 3609 North Broad St. for counseling local residents.

The city says that anyone who is impacted, needs assistance or resources in dealing with the trauma from the aftermath of the shooting can email the Office of Violence Prevention at OVPInfo@phila.gov or call 215-686-0789.  

Operation Save Our City is also holding an emergency community meeting, "Healing from Trauma," on Aug. 19, 2019 at 3511 N 11th Street at 6 pm.