Vigil and march remember victim

CHESTER, Pa. - November 18, 2009

More than 200 people came to honor her life in an impromptu vigil to pay respects to the victim and to say they've had enough.

They needed no script. They knew what was on their mind.

"Stop the violence. Stop the violence," marchers proclaimed in Chester Wednesday night.

In a city that has seen more than its share of violence, the case of 49-year-old Kathy Stewart has outraged many.

She was caring for her mother, who is stricken with cancer, in her home in the 300 block of Franklin Street. She had just gone to bed when a stray bullet fired by young men shooting at each other outside flew through the wall striking her in the head. She later died.

"This is really sad and pitiful that my sister had to lose her life because of something like this," Sunday Hollman, the victim's sister, said.

"It's difficult to put some kind of perspective on this, you have some young persons who have no respect for quality of life and it's basically out of control," State Representative Thaddeus Kirkland.

The general feeling among the group marching is that someone knows who the people with the guns were and knows who was firing at who when that bullet struck Kathy Stewart.

"Somebody knows something cause there were 12 shots taken," Joseph Hallman, the victim's brother-in-law, said.

That more than 200 people showed up for the last minute event whose making was spread through word of mouth astonished Stewart's grieving family members.

"And they took my mom's life, but it brought so much love. This is incredibly, like, wow," Kacihsa Stewart said.

Through it all, it offered a moment of hope in a community overwhelmed by violence.

How does someone break the chains of violence that hold so many of our neighborhoods hostage? That is the answer that escapes the people of Chester. A start may be by asking who has the information on the shooting of Kathy Stewart to call police at 610-447-7931.

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