Grim milestone: Philadelphia nears its 500th homicide of 2020

Maggie Kent Image
Tuesday, December 29, 2020
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"We've seen things we haven't seen in almost three decades," says Inspector Derrick Wood, of Southwest Detectives Division.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- With a little more than 48 hours to go until 2021, the City of Philadelphia stands at the edge of a deadly distinction.

As of Tuesday evening, there have been 494 homicides on city streets this year. That's a number not seen in Philadelphia since 1990.

"We've seen things we haven't seen in almost three decades," says Inspector Derrick Wood, of Southwest Detectives Division.

Out of the six divisions in the city, Southwest detectives has the highest murder rate.

"Most people in Philadelphia are good people. It's the small minority of people that are committing the crimes," says Wood.

In the most recent homicide, 24-year-old Ebony Kitchen was fatally gunned down along the 5800 block of Rising Sun Avenue.

On Monday night, after a fight with another woman, a man approached Kitchen and fatally shot her.

"Last night we had a young lady killed. I saw that video, a guy walked up to her and shot her in the head had no qualms about it," Wood said.

"It's very frightening to the community members to see someone kill someone in broad daylight. I've seen an increase in that," said Wood.

In a separate incident Monday night, a teen was killed just shy of his 16th birthday along the 1200 block of South 51st Street in Kingsessing.

Officers have video of the double shooting which shows a dark-colored sedan pull alongside the driver's side of a car at a red light. At least 17 shots are heard.

Brett Williams has experienced the pain of gun violence, his father was murdered when he was 11-years-old.

"It took me 22 years to open up and address the trauma I've been through as a kid. And the only reason I opened up is because my older brother was murdered 20 years later," says Williams.

Williams is now a proponent against violence as the board President of the Anti-violence Partnership of Philadelphia.

"I'm a huge advocate especially towards young Black men, men in general to go and get grief counseling," says Williams.

Williams says that many outreach programs are vying for the same funding that resources are stretched thin.

And because there are so many various organizations, outreach often overlaps without coordination, something he hopes changes with the institution of the city's Office of Victim's Advocate.