Philly on pace to set homicide record after stray bullet killing in Frankford

The number of homicides this year in Philadelphia is now higher than this time in 2021, the city’s deadliest year on record

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A woman was struck and killed by a stray bullet Tuesday evening in Frankford as she barbecued with friends, making her Philadelphia’s 322nd homicide victim of 2022.

The number of homicide victims this year in the city is now higher than at this time last year, which was recorded as the deadliest on record with 560 victims.

Tylesha Watson was making dinner by a grill outside a home near the corner of Harrison and Mulberry streets around 8 p.m. Tuesday. Surveillance video shows a gray Chevrolet sedan driving by the corner store steps away, and someone firing outside the window at a trio of men outside.

Watson, 29, was struck in the shoulder.

“As she was laying on the ground, there were at least six or seven kids in that house that we had to get out of there,” said Philadelphia Police Capt. John Walker.

“This was a family event. They were listening to music, cooking food when these cowards drive up the street and fire from a car.”

He added that on that block Monday night, someone was shot in the hand.

The block on Harrison Street in Frankford where Tylesha Watson was cooking Tuesday night when she was struck by a stray bullet and killed.
The block on Harrison Street in Frankford where Tylesha Watson was cooking Tuesday night when she was struck by a stray bullet and killed. Photo credit Kristen Johanson/KYW Newsradio

“That corner has been known for people to hang on,” he said. “There’s no doubt that something is going on.”

A neighbor across the street was inside her home when she heard the gunfire and looked out to see Watson on the ground, a woman with whom she had become friendly.

“A young lady who was out there went over to help her apply pressure until the cops got there,” another neighbor said. She wished to remain nameless out of fear.

“I’ve never seen it like this. In the last 5 years, it’s just been ‘OK Corral.’  It’s hard for us to live here.”

She said that after living on that block for five years, she wants to move.

“I have a swimming pool out in the back,” the neighbor said. “I am not filling that pool back up because I am scared. I am not sure if they are going to come down this street and shoot it up, and one of my family members [gets] hit.”

Watson was taken to the hospital, where she died.

“I am just praying for that family,” the neighbor said.

Kenney on violence crisis: “We continue to move forward, do everything we can”

Mayor Jim Kenney spoke on Zoom Wednesday and shared that what the city is doing isn't enough to quell the gun violence crisis.

"We never say it's enough. It's never enough. With one homicide, it's not enough," he said, explaining the city will continue to try to take illegal guns off the streets and interrupt violent acts.

"We continue to move forward, do everything we can to make people as safe as possible. And we regret the tragedies that we're seeing in our city because of the availability of guns."

People who live in those neighborhoods have said they choose to illegally own such weapons because those who commit deadly crimes own them, living in what they say is a literal situation of "shoot or be shot."

"I understand why people are concerned or frightened. It is difficult out there, and it's difficult across this entire country with the way in which guns are available to people," Kenney said.

"That's no justification for carrying an illegal weapon. And there's no justification for their accessibility ... no real rationale, no reason why guns of that nature — with multiple shot clips, semi-automatic in nature — should be available to any individual."

Related podcast

Podcast Episode
Bridging Philly
Flashpoint: "It feels paralyzing." Mothers share their experiences losing sons to gun violence
Listen Now
Now Playing
Now Playing