PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A community is coming together, demanding an end to the violence after the deadly shooting of a 16-year-old boy in Southwest Philadelphia Thursday night. This public safety walk is in response to last night’s double shooting.
One of the latest victims to die in the city’s gun violence epidemic is a teenager who was set to graduate high school in the next few weeks.
City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson joined forces with the 12th police district captain and members from the community for an emergency Peace Not Guns Public Safety Walk to address last night’s deadly double shooting.
“It not only impacts the family members of the young man whose life was taken but also the residents who live here inside the community so we want to enforce that public safety is a priority here,” Johnson said.
A 13-year-old was shot in the arm and is recovering. Sixteen-year-old Quamir Mitchell was shot in the chest did not survive.
“Even though it’s happening every day you’re still never quite prepared to see, particularly when it’s a homicide of a young person with such a promising future like this young man,” Philadelphia School District spokesperson Monica Lewis said.
Quamir, a senior at West Philadelphia High, traveled to a court in Southwest Philadelphia for a pickup game of basketball but never made it home. He was known as a great student and avid basketball player with a promising future.
“By all accounts, he was a great student and good kid and unfortunately, we are in a situation where we have to talk with students yet again on how to cope with grief during these uncertain times especially,” Lewis said.
School leaders talked with students Friday in a virtual town hall to offer their support.
Quamir’s basketball coaches remember him as a young man with big dreams. They say the city has changed from the days when they were playing pickup basketball.
“You couldn’t come here and do nothing, you couldn’t do it. I knew when I was here I was safe,” said Adrien Burke, Quamir’s basketball coach.
But something has changed, according to these coaches. Playgrounds and basketball courts are no longer the safe havens they once were.
“From my understanding, he never even made it on the court. From my understanding, he was just outside the fence trying to go onto the court,” Burke said.
Burke was Quamir’s coach at West Philadelphia High School. He spoke with Quamir just a few hours before the deadly shooting.
“I always let them know that I love them and they tell me they love me back. Those were our last words. He loved me and I loved him. It’s been rough,” Burke said.
At the famed Christy Recreation Center, on a court two miles from where Quamir was killed, young men and women play freely.
“Outside of the police presence, we just need individuals who have time and who care and who are invested in making sure that the environment is safe,” said coach and mentor Eugine Lett Sr.
Now through the end of August, Friday night basketball and football will be hosted here under the protection of community leaders who urge others to make time and help out.
“At 16 years old, you shouldn’t have to be worried about if you are going to make it home or not. That’s just not fair. That’s just really not fair,” Burke said.
Police say someone has been taken into custody after the shooting. There has been no official update on the status of that person at this time.
Meanwhile, Quamir’s family has asked for privacy as they process this tragedy.
CBS3’s Alecia Reid and Alexandria Hoff contributed to this report.