Mother of five killed in Grays Ferry
The manhunt is on for a second suspect in the killing of a Grays Ferry woman who was just standing on her porch when gunfire exploded on the 1500 block of Corlies Street on Friday, April 20.
Clarice Douglas, 45, a mother of five, was standing on her front porch waiting for her children to come home from school when she was caught in the crossfire between two young Black males at 2:30 p.m. Law enforcement authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Shekinah Williams, a 28-year-old Black male from the 2100 block of Sears Street, and the Citizen’s Crime Commission is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to his arrest and conviction. Investigators allege that Williams was involved in a shootout with another Hakeem Burley, 23, who was wounded in the exchange of gunfire that left Douglas dead from multiple gunshot wounds.
Police recovered a .45 caliber handgun and 18 shell casings from the scene.
Williams and Burley are no strangers to law enforcement. In 2000, Williams was 17 and pleaded guilty to robbery, possessing an instrument of crime and criminal conspiracy, and was sentenced to four to eight years in prison. A few months before, he was arrested for aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, weapons offenses and simple assault. In 2008, he pleaded guilty to marijuana possession. At age 16, in 2004, Burley was arrested for robbery, burglary, weapons offenses, recklessly endangering another person, terroristic threats and related charges.
Douglas is just the latest victim of gun violence in South Philadelphia. On March 21, two children having fun inside a playground were wounded when they were caught in the crossfire between two other young Black males with guns. Fortunately, their wounds were not fatal. The day before, on March 20 there was a double shooting at 3:30 p.m. at the intersection of 5th and Pierce streets that left two men wounded.
“Regarding this recent shooting, we have one person being held and we recovered a gun. We have some direction on the second suspect. As for the other recent incidents, there could be a lot of things causing the violence in that part of town,” said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. “It could be disputes between different gangs, but it doesn’t have to be. It could be something as simple as looking at another person in the wrong way, or an argument over a female. Basically, there is no shortage of thugs with guns who are not afraid to fire over any dispute. It can even be a spur of the moment thing.”
On March 29, police say a 24-year-old man was shot twice in the buttocks just before 2 a.m. at 26th and Jackson streets. The victim was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in stable condition. A few days before, on March 21, two children were wounded by gunfire at Sach’s Playground at 4th Street and Washington Avenue. Investigators believe that shooting was touched of by an earlier incident in the vicinity.
On March 20, police were called to the vicinity of 5th and Pierce streets in response to a double shooting that also happened in the afternoon, this time around 3:30 p.m. Two males were taken to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in stable condition. On March 30, a 19-year-old woman was shot in the abdomen just before 11:30 p.m. in the 1200 block of South 13th Street. Surveillance cameras captured images of the suspect, a young Black male in his teens or early twenties demanding money. The woman tried to defend herself with mace.
Club Onyx, at 2900 South Columbus Boulevard has been the scene of several shootings and robberies in recent months. The last one happened on February 23 when a man was critically shot outside the strip club in the early morning hours. The suspect, 25-year-old Kyle Carter, was arrested a few days later. According to police, Carter was involved an argument with the victim, who died from his wounds a week later. During the argument Carter allegedly took out a gun and shot the victim in the neck.
“There are combinations of different causes behind this senseless bloodshed,” said Philadelphia City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, who lives in the district. “Many times these are petty disputes that rise to the level of violence. Some of the reports I’ve seen indicate drug turf wars in some instances, but all of it has a negative impact on the community — and most of the victims are young Black males. This last murder has left five children without their mother, and I was just down in the vicinity a couple of weeks ago for another shooting. But the reality is that we cannot give up and just sit on the sidelines; we have to keep working aggressively to change the mindset of these young men. Just today I was at the Youth Study Center, listening to some of the teens on the inside regarding what kind of support and encouragement they need that will help them turn themselves onto a better path. Now they all had suggestions, but one of them stood up and said that what’s really needed are parents who keep a firm hand on them. He said if his parents had really stayed on him about the consequences of his actions, he might have made better decisions.”
At the 9th Annual Summit on Race, Culture and Human Relations, Mayor Michael Nutter said the country’s reaction to Black-on-Black crime is astounding when seen from the perspective of its response to terrorism.
“Black men are becoming an endangered species in America — locked up or dead,” Nutter said. “Crime also breeds upon itself. After serving their time, many of the individuals who are released from our prisons cannot find work, and do not have the training or literacy skills to keep a job. And so, these folks quickly fall back into the criminal lifestyle to make ends meet.”