City In Crisis|
Public Urged To Help End Violence In Philadelphia
Mayor To Meet With Governor To Discuss Gun Legislation
Mar 17, 2005 11:53 am US/Eastern
Authorities and prosecutors concerned with a rash of killings in the city continued their plea for the public�s help in identifying murderers.
Within the past eight days, there have been 23 homicides in Philadelphia, including three in the late-night and early morning hours after District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham made her appeal and vowed that her office will protect witnesses.
�We cannot only move you out of the city, we can move you out of the state; we can move you across the country,� Abraham said.
The latest deaths brought Philadelphia�s 2005 murder total to 78, up from 66 at the same point a year ago, police said.
CBS 3 reports that Mayor Street, under certain circumstances, would consider help from the Pennsylvania State Police and even the National Guard. However, if necessary, he would like to know the stipulations under which they would operate.
Street has declared the violence throughout the city a crisis and as a result has ordered the full review of police department policies and has suggested a full moratorium on the issuing of gun permits.
In addition, Street has requested a meeting with Governor Ed Rendell to talk about possible new gun legislation. He contends that some murders are impossible to prevent without tougher gun laws.
Philadelphia Police Captain Richard Ross said he was especially unnerved by Saturday night�s slaying of nine-year-old Wander DeJesus.
He described going to the scene, right after he had gotten home from investigating other killings: �My daughter, who�s the same age, asked me, �Daddy, where are you going?�� Ross said. �All I could say was, �A little boy your age got hurt.��
An 18-year-old was charged in DeJesus' murder Thursday.
However, to further the fight against violence, CBS 3�s Walt Hunter reports one of the most elite units in the Philadelphia Police Department is now actively engaged in a citywide crackdown.
Officers from Philadelphia Police�s Highway Patrol Unit hit the streets of North Philadelphia Wednesday in search of guns and possible suspects.
Still, law enforcement officials have been on a campaign to persuade city residents to cooperate more with police since last year�s killing of Faheem Thomas-Childs, a 10-year-old boy struck by a stray bullet outside at his North Philadelphia school. The shooting happened in front of dozens of people, but few witnesses have spoken up.
�We know that people know who killed Faheem Thomas-Childs. We know that people know. We need them to come forward,� Abraham said. Nearly all progress made in that investigation has come from the work of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, not from the public, she said.
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