By Matt Petrillo
PHILADELPHIA (KYW) — Philadelphia is looking for solutions as the murder rate continues on a record-setting pace. So far this year, 261 people have already been murdered in Philadelphia.
That’s up 37% from this time last year when the city recorded 499 homicides.
One of the latest shootings police are investigating is the murder of a 17-year-old boy. Now, his heartbroken family now has a message for the killer.
“Have a heart and turn yourself in,” said Robert Robbins, the victim’s uncle.
Police say 17-year-old Raqib Robbins was waiting for the G SEPTA bus with a friend by 58th Street and Cobbs Creek Parkway in Southwest Philly just before 7 p.m. Tuesday.
That’s when an armed man wearing a mask shot the 10th grader one time in the head, killing him.
“What went through my head when I got that phone call was disbelief. You know, disbelief,” Robert Robbins said.
Detectives say the deadly shooting was not random.
“We’re trying to figure out exactly why he was targeted. We don’t have that information right now,” Philadelphia Police Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Naish said.
Raqib is now among more than 260 other homicide victims and more than 1,000 total shooting victims in Philly so far this year.
“We need everyone to step up,” Sister Taleah Taylor said.
Taylor, an anti-violence activist with the City of Dreams Coalition, points out Philly is on pace to see a record number of homicides in 2021.
“Our foundations with our families first,” she said when asked what has to change. “If you want your child to have a career, to get out the streets, we have places for them to go.”
There are several factors leading to the city’s increase in murders, says La Salle University’s Chip Gallagher.
“It is certainly the pandemic is partly to blame. I think that there’s been waves of unemployment in the city. I think that causes stress,” Gallagher said.
And the uptick in homicides means officers have a larger number of cases to solve.
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