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Philadelphia Officials Address Grim Milestone As City Reaches 300 Homicides In 2022

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Philadelphia reached a grim milestone after the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old man Monday night. The victim was shot at the intersection of 52nd and Larchwood in West Philadelphia. The city is on pace to nearly match last year's record-breaking number of murders.

So far this year, 300 people have been killed in the city. That's just four murders less than this time last year.

Two years ago, 228 people were killed through July 18.

Some activists are working to change the troubling trend while city officials held a briefing Tuesday to address the growing concerns among residents.

One of the activists Eyewitness News spoke with met with the grieving family of the 18-year-old man shot and killed Monday night, saying their pain is felt by many in the city.

"The family's not doing well, just like the rest of our families in Philadelphia are not doing well," Taleah Taylor, president of the nonprofit City of Dreams Coalition, said.

Taylor has been working for a decade in Philadelphia, consoling families of gun violence, urging for peace in the city's streets and more.

"We do interventions. Also with families of domestic violence, people that have been targeted," Taylor said.

She's been working almost nonstop during what's been a violent first half of 2022.

The city has recorded 300 homicides so far this year.

"The fact we lost 300 souls is devastating," Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said.

During his virtual biweekly crime briefing, Kenney addressed the grim milestone as gun violence continues to surge in the city.

"This past week has been especially difficult with so many senseless shootings," Kenney said. "We implore everyone, from elected officials to community members, to work together to find solutions to solve this deeply complex issue."

On Monday night, an 18-year-old was shot multiple times at 52nd Street and Larchwood Avenue in West Philadelphia.

"Based on ballistic evidence at the scene. we know at least 52 shots were fired," Chief Inspector Scott Small said.

During the briefing, Kenney said the city is working on solutions, but when asked if he has met with any family members of the 300 people killed, he said no.

"Sometimes the investigation is evolving and it's difficult to interact with people when the investigation is going on, but no I have not," Kenney said.

When asked to clarify if he has met with any families over the last seven years, Kenney said: "I met with some children who have been shot, little babies shot in the crossfire, but never their families. That's not something I've done from the time I started being mayor."

"It is troublesome," Oba Sankofa said. "I know he has a lot on his plate. I know the government has a lot on their plate."

According to the Office of the City Controller, about 10% of the homicide victims this year are younger than 18.

Sankofa says the mayor needs to interact with community members more to help curb violence.

"It's not something one person can do. I think he needs to come to different communities and different community leaders, talk to community groups already doing the work to stop non-violence," Sankofa said.

Taj Murdock mentors young people in his program called Men of Courage.

"The biggest thing is, first and foremost, I'm just going to say this, we need to get more men involved," Murdock said.

Including himself, the Men of Courage has four men who teach a few dozen young people in Philadelphia to reach for careers away from drugs and violence.

Murdock says it will take more men to make a bigger impact on the city's young people.

"They're emulating what they see when they trying to look for what a man looks like," Murdock said. "The identity of a man has been tarnished. So when they're looking for what the identity of a man looks like, they're looking for what's in their environment."

One of his mentees is now a mentor himself.

"We like helping people our age get off the streets and do better for themselves," Dejuan Coates said. "And what they've been doing in the program is good. People have been getting jobs, changing their lives around."

Coates is following his passion for film and has become a videographer through the Men of Courage program. It's a passion he says he may not have had the opportunity to pursue otherwise.

About 20 minutes after the mayor's briefing ended, the mayor's office sent CBS3 an email clarifying the mayor's comments, saying he has met with several mothers of children that were killed in the city through the Criminal Justice and Public Safety program.

The mayor did also say his condolences go out to everyone.

CBS3's Ryan Hughes and Matt Petrillo contributed to this report.

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