PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Life changed on Simpson Street the night that 7-year-old Zamar Jones was shot and killed on his own front porch. Fear of gun violence now keeps people inside.
But a local group is trying to bring back that warm neighborhood feeling while also honoring Zamar’s memory.
Philadelphia Cure Violence went door to door in West Philadelphia Tuesday, encouraging residents on Simpson Street to come out to a block party.
The block captain told Eyewitness News that ever since a 7-year-old boy was gunned down, no one comes outside anymore.
It’s been three weeks since 7-year-old Zamar was shot while sitting next to his toy car on his own porch. And since then, both children and adults haven’t been seen outside their homes.
“Right now, they’re scared to come out, and the parents are also,” said block captain Sean Dorreen Smith.
Smith is the block captain of the 200 Block of Simpson Street in West Philadelphia.
She met with a former Philadelphia resident who decided to collect and donate 500 toy cars to Zamar’s former block, after seeing this picture of the aspiring police officer.
“I wanted to collect some toy cars and get them into the hands of kids through officers, and through people like Mr. Williams,” Jennifer Gross said.
Those donated toy cars will be put into 200 donated backpacks, along with other goodies to be handed out at a block party on Sept. 5 in hopes of easing some fear in the neighborhood.
“At least they’ll have a day where they can come out and play and feel free to play,” said Smith.
As the community works to get back to some sense of normalcy, good Samaritans are reminding the block not to give up hope.
“There is a bright spot in the world and that people outside of this street are thinking of them,” Gross said.
That block party is on Sept. 5 at noon.
The block captain tells CBS3 that people move in and out of the area quite frequently and they’re hoping this will be an opportunity to meet their new neighbors.