Civic activist found shot to death in her Powelton home

POWELTON (WPVI) -- Police are investigating the murder of a well-known civic activist.

The 65-year-old woman was found shot to death Friday night inside her home in the city's Powelton section.

Now, police are trying to find her killer - and determine how anyone could murder the beloved woman.

Friends and neighbors say Winifred Harris was active in her community, especially when it came to planting trees and making her neighborhood green.

Flowers and balloons now drape the entrance to Friday's crime scene, as neighbors struggle to understand how and why she would become victim of such a heinous crime.

"She didn't deserve to go out like that, didn't deserve to go at all," said friend Elizabeth Waring.

Waring is still in shock about her friend's gruesome death. Police found the 65-year-old unresponsive in a second-floor bedroom with a gunshot wound to her stomach.

Waring says she was the one who alerted police that something wasn't right. She tells us the fact that Harris didn't return phone calls was a red flag.

Right now police say there's no motive, but neighbors tell police a woman heard screaming and gunshots the night before Harris was discovered.

Harris was an active UC Green volunteer, responsible for planting thousands of trees in West Philadelphia and tending to various community gardens.

"We were shocked, this is so unexpected and Winnie was such a dear and lovable person. She gave so much in this community, and you wonder how in the world this could have even happened," said UC Green volunteer Mark Wagenveld.

It's unclear if Harris was targeted or if this was random, but detectives returned to her home Saturday, scouring for clues and surveillance cameras on the block. Neighbors and friends say they just want answers.

"You took away a dear loved one from family, from friends, from the community, from a lot of lives that she touched," said Waring. "If you're any kind of person with a conscience, turn yourself in and give us some closure.

Police say, as of right now, they do not know of any witnesses, but asking anyone with information to contact detectives.
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