Vigil held for mother murdered in Port Richmond home; 2-year-old was next to her

PORT RICHMOND (WPVI) -- "God, please accept Stephanie and help stop the violence," a priest said Friday night along Aramingo Avenue in Port Richmond.

About 100 people packed the block for a vigil to remember Stephanie Dzikowski, the 22-year-old police say was shot and killed in her own home while her two-year-old child was close by.

"I can't believe my sister is gone now," said Ryan DZikowski, Stephanie's younger brother. "She didn't deserve this. She was making a better life for herself and her daughter, and now she's gone."

One by one family and friends left candles, notes, pictures and stuffed animals in memory of the young mom.

Stephanie's grieving father brought flowers to place on the memorial for his daughter.

And bright balloons were released in Stephanie's honor. Those who love her say they want answers.

"They didn't cause any trouble," said Daniel Miller, a neighbor. "They went to work, did what they were supposed to do. Whoever did this was a coward. I'm not going to sugarcoat this. You kill a child in front of her mom - he's a chomp."

Police are reviewing surveillance video which they say may show the killer fleeing down Aramingo.

Joe Jalicke lives on the block and says he caught a glimpse of him.

"I didn't see his face," said Jalicke. "He was wearing a hoodie. They said he made a turn, but he didn't. He ran straight up."

The vigil came the evening after new details emerged about the deadly shooting.

Police say Stephanie Dzikowski was shot and killed inside her home on the 3000 block of Aramingo Avenue around 11:30 p.m. Thursday.

She was shot as her child sat on the bed next to her. The child was not harmed.

It's where she lived with her daughter, her boyfriend and her father. Police say her father was at work while her boyfriend had gone out to the corner store.

Police don't believe it was a random act, but rather that the home was targeted. They have not identified any suspects in the case.

A neighbor saw a man running from the home and chased after him. Police say the man being chased was wearing a gray hoodie and fled the scene south on Aramingo Avenue.

Action News obtained surveillance video on Friday that may have captured the killer running down Aramingo.

Neighbors say that, earlier in the day, they saw a man in a gray hoodie who kept riding a bicycle around their neighborhood. It was odd, they said, because temperatures were in the 90s.

Dzikowski's boyfriend found the body and ran next door in a panic. Neighbor and friend Marie Larkins said she told him to calm down and rushed to the crime scene.

"I got scared at first then got this knot, like a sick feeling in my stomach. It was nothing but blood," Larkins said.

Dzikowski had just graduated from dental hygiene school and started her first job.

"I still think she is going to come down the street and say hi, you know, 'I'll be right back,'" said Larkins.

"Stephanie, she was the best and the best mother in the world," said neighbor Donna Simpson. "They need to find out who did this, because this is not right."

The 2-year-old is with family members.
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