Southwest Philly neighborhood upset over violence meet with officials to find solutions

If the gun violence epidemic wasn’t bad enough in the city, residents near the corner deli at 57th and Elmwood Streets in Southwest Philadelphia say the probability of a shooting goes up even higher. Residents and officials met at a standing room only emergency meeting at Ezekiel Baptist Church Wednesday night to address the issues at the store.

"Do you know how many times I had to hit the deck? And crawl out of my bed to the floor because of the gunshots" said one woman who lives across the street from the deli.

The meeting, attended by nearly 100 people, was organized by City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and State Representative Joanna McClinton from the 191st District.

"When you keep seeing the blood spattered on the same sidewalk, we have a problem" said Rep. McClinton.


Alice Lewis lives near that corner. She brought along her three-year-old great grandson, Nazir. She says the toddler is all too familiar with the sound of gunfire. 

"He can’t go over there and play because he’s afraid of the violence. He hears the gunshots when he’s at my house and he hits the floor" Lewis explained.

On September 30th, an 11-year-old was one of the victims of a double shooting outside the deli. A 51-year-old man was killed in a triple shooting there in August. During the meeting, Philadelphia Police Captain Scott Drissel told the story of a man who has been arrested five times for narcotics possession outside the store, but he keeps getting out on bail. City leaders say nuisance properties lead to more serious crimes in the community.

District Attorney Larry Krasner, who also attended the meeting, announced his office is forming a task force against problem properties and possibly enlist the help of federal agencies to step in to force some action.

"Some of these Stop and Go's serve as safe havens for young people who sell drugs and get involved in illegal activity. So we are going to be on the front lines making sure if you are operating a Stop and Go you are doing it in a responsible manner" said Councilman Johnson.

After more than 60 years of living in the neighborhood, Lewis says she’s never needed protection but things have changed.

"I carry mace. I carry a Taser. I will hurt you. But I don’t want to have to hurt nobody because I’m a Christian and it’s not my life. I’m not supposed to take a life. I don’t want to do that I just want this madness to stop" she remarked.

A spokesperson for Councilman Johnson’s office tells FOX 29 the owner of the deli spoke at the meeting. He told the community he bought the business a little more than three months ago and vowed to make necessary changes to his store, increasing the number of surveillance cameras, as one example.


Tips can be submitted by calling 215-686-TIPS (8477) or texting PPD TIP (773847). Tips can also be submitted anonymously online, here. All tips are confidential.

Click here to find resources for victims of violence in Philadelphia.



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