Philly Truce to hold 3 peace patrol walks; volunteers sought to expand program

When Justin Harris saw a video released by Philadelphia Police at the end of March, showing the moment a person opened fire at another group of young people in East Germantown, it made him angry.

Police say in that shooting, 16-year-old Semaj Fields was killed, and his 17-year-old friend was injured. Harris grew up in Germantown and helps run the deli at A&N House of Produce.

"I’m sure that we made a good sandwich for him, or a great hoagie for him, or some cuts of meats and cheeses for his family, more likely than not, and it just hit home and to me," he said.


Video shows two suspects in East Germantown double shooting that left teen dead: police

One teen is dead and another is hurt after police say they were fired on by another group of teens Wednesday night on a Philadelphia street. 

It’s why Harris says he connected with Philly Truce, the non-profit behind Operation Hug the Block, working towards a 50% reduction in opportunities for violence in Philadelphia’s public space. 

He says they have identified three zones experiencing high rates of gun violence where they will hold peace patrol walks this week, all starting at 7 p.m.

  • Thursday, April 18th: 4800 Wayne Avenue
  • Friday, April 19th: Chew Avenue and Church Lane
  • Saturday, April 20th: Germantown Avenue and Wister Street

The last walk will take place where Fields was killed back on March 27th.

"It’s a sin that all we have as a community to give back to families that are mourning are teddy bears and candles," said Harris. "So, I said, I feel like we have a group of strong individuals in this community that can stand up for the neighborhood and are willing to do so."

Harris says they specifically chose places where people would have access to parking, so the walks are not just limited to people that live in the immediate vicinity.

If you would like to volunteer, set up a Peace Patrol in your community, or help fund the program, visit the Philly Truce website