One year later: On the street with the Gun Crisis Reporting Project

Very soon after we launched in March, 2012, Philadelphia Weekly Senior Writer Tara Murtha reached out and asked if she could ride along with us to write a column on our efforts to illuminate the epidemic of gunfire in Philadelphia and our search for solutions.

On our first night out together, we pulled up on scene where a man wounded man had stumbled into a pizzeria at 40th Street and Girard Avenue in West Philadelphia.
When we dropped her off in the early morning hours, Murtha told us she was going to pitch our project for a front page story, and after a few more nights on the street together, the PW published: How Two Photojournalists Are Taking on the City’s Gun Crisis.

Murtha recently spent another Saturday night shift with Joe Kaczmarek and shares her observations in a new post published this weekend: “GunCrisis Reporting Project: One Year Later,”

7th & Clearfield Shooting

A shell casing from 7.62 mm rifle round lies in the street after two men were shot in the area of North 7th and West Clearfield Streets. Photographs for the Gun Crisis Reporting Project by Joseph Kaczmarek.

Not long after taking to the street, they responded to a police radio report of a shooting at 7th and Clearfield:

“When we get there, the intersection is already boxed in with yellow crime-scene tape. White chalk circles the size of dinner plates have been drawn on the asphalt. At the center of each circle lies a mangled brass-colored bullet casing. The cop on the scene identifies the casings as from an AK-47.”

Two hours later, they went to the scene of a shooting reported in a parking lot at Harrowgate Plaza:

“The scene is fresh; the first cops on the scene have just arrived. They approach a blue SUV parked by itself. Bullet holes cracked holes into passenger-side window. When the police officers open the passenger door, we see a young man’s body slumped behind the wheel. He looks like he could be sleeping, except for the blood that has seeped through his white shirt, forming bright red circles that run down the side of his body.”

Slideshow: Photographs from Harrowgate Plaza shooting scene by Joseph Kaczmarek:
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A cascade of media attention followed Murtha’s 2012 report, which is now among finalists for the esteemed Mirror Awards.

Soon after the report was published, we invited Murtha to join us at the Gun Crisis project, where we now cross-publish her gun issues reporting from PW. She also plays a critical role in focusing our organizational development and organized an important Gun Crisis community roundtable at Philadelphia City Council last summer.

Read the full report at Philadelphia Weekly: GunCrisis Reporting Project: One Year Later

Kaczmarek later reported from a family memorial service for the Harrowgate Plaza shooting victim: Family gathers to remember shooting victim Adrian Abad Zamora

Editor’s note: This is the sixth post in a collaboration between Philadelphia Weekly and the Gun Crisis Reporting Project.

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