“She was shot and killed a couple months ago,” community activist Rosalind Pichardo said while standing near one memorial site.
As Pichardo walked the neighborhood with a NewsNation reporter, she was able to recall details about each of the lives lost.
“This kid — I watched this kid grow up,” Pichardo said. “He was shot dead on this corner. He was murdered March 12. My sister was killed March 15.”
And at another, “He was shot and killed,” Pichardo said. “That case is unsolved, too.”
Lately, Pichardo has taken to carrying a tourniquet to help gunshot victims. To those unfamiliar with gun violence, the precaution might seem extreme, but one of Pichardo’s tourniquets was put to use last week, she said.
“I was at the hair salon getting my hair done and there was a shooting,” Pichardo said.
Longtime residents told NewsNation nothing feels normal in Philadelphia anymore.
“I walk with a taser in my hand because there have been several assaults in the beautiful park one block up,” resident Marti Lieberman said. “It’s a free-for-all.”
Liberman and her sister Pamela own a mac and cheese restaurant together in Philadelphia’s center city.
“We had our windows smashed,” Lieberman said. “I stood right next to the police officer who — I knew his hands were tied. It was clear this gentleman was not mentally well. But at the end of the day I can’t worry about everyone’s mental state when we have a business to save after a thing like COVID.”
Retired police officer Mark Fusetti said he’s voting for Republican Pennsylvania Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz, partially because of his stance on crime.
“I’m a registered Democrat too, so a lot of the people who follow me will be surprised by that,” Fusetti said. “But just (John) Fetterman’s stance on murder alone, where they should get their second chance — I know too many people who were victims of a homicide, their family destroyed.”
Pichardo knows many of those families, too, and said the city is at a breaking point.
“It is not a Democrat or Republican issue,” Pichardo said. “It is a life issue.”