Only a day after a weekend shooting, life at Mander Playground in Philadelphia’s Strawberry Mansion area had largely returned to normal.
Jennifer, a New Jersey resident who did not provide her last name, was at the park that night with her young son. She returned Monday, as did many families, to play at the park. She says on Sunday, a crowd of an estimated 200 people had gathered to celebrate the start of summer.
“They was out out here dancing and laughing,” she said. “I could tell they was drinking something because they had alcohol and was chasing the cups. You couldn’t even stand over here. Where we’re standing at, it was filled up.”
Jennifer says she saw no police presence at the unauthorized party when she left at around 8 p.m. “Oh no. When they were out here dancing and stuff, no there wasn’t no cops here,” she said.
After dark, the evening turned violent. Police report that 30 year-old Nyeme Taylor was at the park with his teenage son when a fight broke out. Taylor was fatally shot in the head. Three girls, including his daughter, were also injured by gunfire. No arrests have been made in the case, and two police vehicles are now stationed at the park. At the playground on Monday, fewer than 24 hours later, kids run through fountains, swing on swings and play basketball. Discarded beer bottles and plastic cups strewn across the grass are the only signs of Sunday’s events. Two boys, ten and eleven years old, were at the park on Sunday, and are here again today, on the swings. They say they, and others, have reasons for keeping mum about what they saw.
“I tell myself that I ain’t ratting on nobody,” said one. “Because they can come back and shoot you and something.”
“I ain’t a KYW, a newsy person,” said the other, admitting that he is afraid of being a snitch. “I ain’t risking my life just to be on no radio, and then get killed.”
Despite a plea for tips and information, police worry they will get few leads.