Crackup on Lex Street

It was the biggest mass killing in the city's history. But that doesn't begin to tell the story of what happened that night in West Philadelphia.

By Solomon Jones
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 15 | Posted Feb. 14, 2001

Share this Story:

When the preacher stood to deliver a eulogy about choices, the mourners seemed almost numb.

"CJ made his choice," the preacher said.

He never explained that choice.

Two days later, at 15-year-old Malik Harris' funeral, a female relative stood outside Ward A.M.E. Church at 43rd and Aspen, doubled over in grief as police sat nearby, watching.

Inside the church, Harris' young cousin, a boy whose voice had not yet changed, stepped toward the altar, grabbed hold of the rail and sang "Amazing Grace."

Quiante Perrin, the neighbor who would later be arrested in connection with the Lex Street murders, was among the mourners.

He was crying.

By Jan. 9, the day of George Porter's funeral, the neighborhood had been reeling for nearly two weeks. The anger was palpable.

Four uniformed officers were posted inside Mount Olivet Baptist Church on 37th and Wallace streets. There were plainclothes officers outside, and an officer stood atop a flatbed truck, videotaping everyone in attendance.

As Tamika Porter stood to read a poem to her mother, she looked out into the audience, scanned the balcony, then looked at those seated along the floor. Her face creased in a wry, mirthless smile.

"Before I read this poem to my mom, I just want to say whoever did this to my brother might be staring at me right now. If we don't get you, God will definitely get you for this. Jig there, but he lives on, so don't think it's sweet. Believe me, don't think it's sweet."

Jermel Lewis, the man who eventually confessed to the murders, was there. He wiped Tamika Porter's tears, comforted George Porter's mother and promised to help the family find the killers.

After returning from Porter's funeral, two of Guy Long's relatives, Tommie Howell and Keith Long, were shocked to see Mayor John Street holding a press conference on Lex Street. He was there to announce a $50,000 reward for information about the shootings.

When Keith Long started asking questions about why the city was funding stadiums rather than communities, Street ended the press conference.

"He said, 'This is a press conference, not a community meeting,'" Long recalls. "How can you say that as the mayor?"

Later that night, Frances Walker-Ponnie held a youth forum at Martha Washington--the very school where the Lex Street victims had befriended each other as children.

Police Capt. John Hargraves, Deputy Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, state Sen. Vincent Hughes, state Rep. Mike Horsey and Health Commissioner Dr. Walter Tsou all attended.

"We have every elected official that represents this community right here in this room tonight," Hughes said at the gathering.

Prev| Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 |Next
Add to favoritesAdd to Favorites PrintPrint Send to friendSend to Friend

COMMENTS

Comments 1 - 15 of 15
Report Violation

1. kimmi64 said... on Sep 3, 2008 at 12:22PM

“i could have been there too. i just happen to be at kirkbride rehab center in west philly at the time, not too far from the bottoms. i was that caught out, crack addict,hiv having prostitute that hung out at crack houses like that across the city. to think yhat i could have been laid out on that floor with the rest of them makes me feel unimagineably wonderful, being saved from that horrible death. whew”

Report Violation

2. adeena said... on Dec 16, 2008 at 07:58AM

“as salaamu alaikum! masha'allah 4 the lives that weren't taken. Alhamdulillah”

Report Violation

3. none yah said... on Feb 18, 2009 at 09:34AM

“yall dont know nothing about nothing...... ”

Report Violation

4. Anonymous said... on Apr 28, 2009 at 02:19AM

“It is a damn shame those people lost their lives. I grew up playing ball at the Creek, playing football across from Sorrows and Sis Clara Mohammed, eating at Dwights and it makes me wanna cry for the families that lost loved ones. I've been to Iraq and Korea twice and its a damn shame that my neighborhood is still is disarray.”

Report Violation

5. Anonymous said... on Jul 13, 2009 at 10:45PM

“There will be a movie about this compelling story sometime next year, and I guarantee the City of Philadelphia is gonna have a question or two to answer. It was indeed a shame that four young men were wrongfully accused, which leads me to believe they just strong-armed and chose those who allegedly "confessed" to the killings.

Tragic.”

Report Violation

6. kishia hanible said... on Aug 18, 2010 at 01:43AM

“i have read the book watch the dvd listen to the case the youngest one that got killed was my cuzin sam i don't know what went down that night but who ever did the shit will pay rather it be in life or death they will pay and i tell you their is no system that can do what god won't do and beleave me they will suffer....r.i.p to all of them.”

Report Violation

7. Steve Wright said... on Jul 24, 2011 at 10:42PM

“I left Philly in 1979 for the service to get far away from the violents in the Mill Creek section of town. I returned for a visit to family and friends in June 2011 and in hope to see that this city has improved over the years. Philly is basically the same as I left it which is a shame, When I was growing up there it was alot of shooting and killing like it is now. Growing up on June Street between Parrish and Brown I feelsf or those who lost there life on Lex St. Rest in peace Petey I remember many games of basketball we played at the courts of Mill Creek playground. R.I.P. Petey”

Report Violation

8. Anonymous said... on Sep 11, 2011 at 04:39PM

“IT SADINS ME TO KNOW I WENT TO SCHOOL WITH A LOT OF THE PPL OF LEX ST... PPL PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE STOP THE VILOENCE THE ELDERLY ARE OUT LIVING THE YOUNG. IT MAKES NO SENSE AT ALL.......SIMPLY CRAZY!!! WHATS HAPPEN TO LETS SHAKE & MAKE UP!!!!”

Report Violation

9. Anonymous said... on Jan 17, 2012 at 04:06PM

“SOMETHING JUST TOLD ME TO LOOK UP THIS CRIME.. AND ITS CRAZY HOW IT HAS BEEN TEN YRS AND THINGS HAVENT GOTTEN ANY BETTER..... LIKE SERIOUSLY THE YOUNGEST PERSON WOULD HAVE ONLY BEEN 25 LIKE MYSELF. WE WENT TO JAMES RHODES TOGETHER... PPL STOP KILLING OUR FUTURE OFF.. YALL DONT UNDERSTAND THAT, THAT IS WHAT IS GOING ON....”

Report Violation

10. sexylady46 said... on Jan 21, 2012 at 08:43PM

“This sad that these seven ppl was killed over a fucking car”

Report Violation

11. DownthewayJ said... on May 24, 2012 at 09:09PM

“Grew up in west Philly. Lived on Lancaster Ave. Shame how we continue to kill each other. When will we learn? As-salaamu-alaikum”

Report Violation

12. mike war said... on Jul 20, 2012 at 07:51AM

“R.I.P JIG

46 street for life! all was senseless

r.i.p buzzy”

Report Violation

13. ryan said... on Aug 31, 2012 at 12:25PM

“He said, 'This is a press conference, not a community meeting,'" Long recalls. "How can you say that as the mayor. you elected that clown and look where it got you. black people dont get the big picture thats why when you walk into a prison its made up of 65percent blacks. i recall abraham lincoln freed the slaves and yet you vote for democrats the blacks. because they want free money!”

Report Violation

14. Anonymous said... on Dec 4, 2013 at 06:34PM

“this story needs to be updated. at least 4 other men were charged. the 1st 4 were aquitted.”

Report Violation

15. Chuck said... on Oct 22, 2014 at 07:48PM

“This is a crazy senseless world we live in.I knew all of them the were my yong boys may god bless them and bless those who don't know no better.LOVE AND PEACE.46FOREVER.”

ADD COMMENT

Rate:
(HTML and URLs prohibited)