Family mourns teen shot near home in E. Germantown

Rashi Anderson
Rashi Anderson
Posted: January 25, 2012

RELATIVES of Rashi Anderson, a 17-year-old boy gunned down about a block from his East Germantown home, gathered at the residence last night to console each other - and contemplated how to sum up a life cut so tragically short.

"We were trying to fill up an obituary, but we couldn't because we didn't have enough words," Denise Thiam, Anderson's great-aunt, said on the front porch over the sound of Rashi's mother's muffled and anguished sobs coming from the living room.

Rashi, whom relatives remember as quiet and pensive beyond his years, was a student in the Agora Cyber Charter School program, planned to be a carpenter and would have turned 18 on Feb. 15, said his mother, Shantashi Cooper.

A hail of gunfire on 21st Street near Medary Avenue wiped it all away Monday night as he walked home from his job at his cousin's cleaning service.

"He was just out there at the wrong place at the wrong time, and he was supposed to come home," Cooper said through tears.

"What world are we living in that you can't walk home from work?" asked an aunt, Jennifer Campbell-Stith.

Rashi's death marked Philadelphia's 27th homicide of 2012 - the same number at this stage in 2007, Philadelphia's deadliest year in the last five - then grew to 28 when a man who was shot on Tacoma Street near Seymour in Germantown was pronounced dead last night.

With homicide detectives investigating more killings than days elapsed in 2012, police and city officials are looking for ways to stop the bloodshed.

Spokesman Mark McDonald said Mayor Nutter is expected to address the public this week on how the city will respond to the year's violent beginning.

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said the numbers don't necessarily foreshadow a year of record-breaking violence.

"We're going to do whatever we have to do to get the violence down," Ramsey said. "We're looking to see whether we need to make some adjustments within our department."

What those adjustments could be was unclear last night. However, McDonald said the number of cops on foot patrol could eventually swell, with about 120 cadets set to graduate from the Police Academy between spring and summer.

"We're committed to using every available resource and every available statutory power to begin to turn the tide here," McDonald said.

Rashi's family, grappling with the task of mourning a teen who worked hard and kept out of trouble, wants to see the words translate into action.

"I know the mayor is saying he's working on it," Thiam said. "Let's see the work."

Tipsters should call the Homicide Unit at 215-686-3334 or the tip line at 215-686-TIPS (-8477).

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