Capt. Frank Palumbo looked at the kids playing basketball at the Lawncrest Recreation Center.
“This is how it should be,” he said — kids playing ball, adults enjoying a beautiful spring evening.
The 2nd Police District’s commander was at the rec center to participate in a June 5 peace rally. About 50 public officials, civic leaders and neighborhood residents turned out for the gathering last week along with a line of police officers to support efforts to improve Lawncrest.
The rally, sponsored by PhillyRising and police, also was a reaction to the violence that has shot through the neighborhood this year.
There have been several murders in the neighborhood in 2014. A mother and her son, Donna Muller, 49, and Richard Muller, 22, were shot in their home on the 300 block of Stevens Street on Jan. 19. Willow Grove resident Linden Henry, 32, was shot fatally as he sat in a car parked on the 5700 block of Weymouth Street. Three men were shot and killed on Feb. 13 in a twin house on the 5700 block of Martins Mill Road.
As traffic noisily passed by the Rising Sun Avenue crowd, City Councilwoman Marian Tasco thanked Palumbo for battling area crime, but added that “we need people to be more involved” to rebuild the community. “We need block captains,” she said.
With officers lined up behind him, Palumbo said, “This is a great neighborhood … kids are playing … they shouldn’t be afraid of dodging a bullet.” ••