PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As Philadelphia tops 400 homicides, the list of families left without a loved one grows even longer. The gun violence epidemic is overwhelming in our city and many are searching desperately for solutions.
Ten-year-old Nala lives in West Philadelphia. Her grandmother, Grace Rojas, is raising her because two years ago her father was shot dead just down the street.READ MORE: CBS3 SummerFest: Chandler Lutz's Favorite Spots Along The Wildwood Boardwalk
“It was an altercation between him and a young man. The young man left the scene, went home or wherever he went to, came back with a gun, hid between two cars, came out, shot my son in the back, three bullets,” Grace Rojas said.
Rojas relocated here from Trinidad and Tobago. Her son, Garvin, was murdered at 27.
She is bitter and says his killer was convicted of a lesser charge of possessing the alleged murder weapon.
She now sympathizes with the 400-plus families who’ve lost loved ones to homicide in the City of Brotherly Love.
“I would say the city. Why would I say the city? Because I don’t think they are doing much to get these people off the street,” Rojas said.
On Monday, the mayor and district attorney were asked about the rising number of killings — a figure that places Philadelphia on track to smash a calendar record not seen since 1990.READ MORE: 4 People Killed, 2 Possibly Unaccounted For In Pottstown House Explosion, Officials Say
“I’m angry, I’m frustrated, sad… the needless loss of life that we’ve seen here,” Kenney said. “We had some positive trending over the summer. We were behind, we knew we were going to get close to that number and it’s very sad and we’re going to continue to work extra hard to get these guns off the street.”
Krasner echoed that same sentiment.
“As of last year on this date, there were 341 [homicides],” Krasner said. “There is an increase of 18 percent over last year. What we saw over the last several weeks was that the level of increase was coming down. It peaked at about 36% and then it was coming down, and as early as last week we were down to about 16 percent, but we’re going back up.”
Heather Arias is with Anti-Violence Philadelphia Partnership. Her counselors are stretched thin, helping families navigate some of the worse trauma of their lives.
“Our jobs as a victims’ service agency is to try to hep make them feel as whole again as possible and that in itself is nearly impossible,” Arias said.
Meanwhile, for Rojas, she had hoped her own son’s murder — and the deaths of others like him — would have shaken the city to do more back then.
“I used to like Philadelphia. I hate Philadelphia,” Rojas said.MORE NEWS: Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Sarah Lovern Set To Attend Flight Academy At Delaware State University Before Heading To Military
Philadelphia passed 400 homicides on Saturday night. That number is now up to at least 406 murders as of Monday afternoon.