'Put the guns down': Southwest Philly grad party shooting prompts peace walk

Andrew Kramer
June 17, 2019 - 8:53 pm
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Chants of "put the guns down" and "don't shoot, we want to live" echoed up Reed Bird Place down S. 70th Street and all throughout the Southwest Philadelphia neighborhood.

Dozens of people came to a public safety walk and rally to end gun violence Monday afternoon. 

It was at a park near the intersection where someone shot six people Sunday night, killing one of them during a graduation-Father's Day party.  

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"Four of the people shot were juveniles and that changes their lives and their families lives forever," said Philadelphia police Capt. Scott Drissel, who joined in on the walk. "So what we do here in the 12th District and all the districts in the city is come out, wrap our arms around the community, let them know we're here. We pray for what happened, hope it doesn't happen again. We begin to interact with the community a little bit more." 

By getting closer with the community, Drissel hopes someone with information on the shooting will come forward. 

But he said this walk also helps people heal after that mass shooting.

"This is a beautiful street," he added. "This is a street people moved on with visions of their kids playing in the playground that it butts right up next to. They did not ever imagine that when they moved on this street (the shooting) would happen. So it's a tragic thing not just for the people involved, but for the people who live here, so we try to come out, let them know that we care."

Rickey Duncan didn't know any of the victims in Sunday's shooting, but to him that had no impact on his decision to participate in this walk.

"I'm hoping that someone will hear these kids cry, hear their voices being screamed and just step up and realize that we're not going for it no more."

Many of the people walking were teenagers around the same age as Dellsean Williams, who is 16-years-old.

"What brought me out here today, I'm protesting violence," Williams said. "It's upsetting to different people, I know parents are tired of losing their children on the streets everyday. I lost my brother to gun violence, he's 15-years-old."

Williams was putting anti-gun violence flyers on cars. 

Others knocked on doors hoping to spread the message.

Police cars followed the walkers, sirens on, not so much to protect them, but because they wanted to draw attention to what was happening.