Local leaders team up to host anti-violence rallies amid gun violence surge in Philadelphia

"We're trying to stop this," said organizer Movita Johnson Harrell.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- With 22 shootings in 24 hours and five people now dead, violence continues to plague the City of Philadelphia.

Friday afternoon, separate communities were united in their message to end the violence. In Cobbs Creek, members of four churches stopped at the sites of recent murders to pray for peace.

"We're trying to stop this," said organizer Movita Johnson Harrell. "We're losing a whole generation of young people to gun violence. They're getting younger and younger."

Movita Johnson Harrell lost both of her sons and is committed to bringing about change.

"Losing a child is devastating. It's a pain that I wouldn't wish on anybody," said Harrell. "I lost both of my sons to bullets that weren't meant for them. For a mother to lose a child, it's out of the natural order of life."

In Oxford Circle, dozens gathered to honor 27-year-old Raheem Bell, who is recovering after four men shot and carjacked him over the weekend.

"(The violence) is so overwhelming to people they're scared to come outside. They're scared to drive their car," said Leslie Bey, Bell's family member.

Earlier on Friday, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said in a statement that reads in part, "The violence and trauma of these incidents extend beyond those directly affected and permeate into the very fabric of our communities. We are committed to seeking justice for victims."

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney also issued a statement that reads in part, "The surge in gun violence that we've seen makes me not just heartbroken but angry. Our administration continues to work relentlessly to reduce violence and create safer communities for everyone."

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