There have been about a dozen shootings in Fairhill in the last two months, according to police who patrol the area, including the unsolved March 12 killing of cousins Dexter Bowie, 17, and Johnathan Stokley, 18, gunned down in a barrage from an AK-47 automatic rifle while riding a stolen all-terrain vehicle.
The cousins died about 50 feet from where residents gathered Saturday.
Just two blocks down, in another unsolved killing, a 36-year-old man named Roshan Sullivan was slain in his bedroom March 28 during a home invasion in which his family members, including his 6-year-old niece, were bound with duct tape.
Most of the recent shootings arise from drug turf disputes, police said.
Those at the rally spoke of others slain in the neighborhood violence with a numbing familiarity.
"Who was that churchgoing family killed last summer?" one committee person asked.
And Kendall Brown, 28, sat on his bike, losing count as he tried to recall all the people he had known who had been killed or wounded.
Forming a passion play of sorts, Saturday's marchers piled into vans and toured the neighborhood, stopping to pray and reflect at other sites of violence.
They got out of their vehicles often.
Thomas, the legislator, called for a mini-station in the neighborhood that could be staffed by police, parole officers, and child-welfare workers, and for neighborhood houses of worship to keep their doors open evenings and offer more family services.
"You can't call your church a church when your doors are shut six days a week," he said.
Down the street, two young men swept up the trash and relit the candles of the sidewalk memorial for Bowie and Stokley, whom they knew as "Bigg" and "Bird."
The makeshift memorials were a few feet from older stone markers in historic Fairhill Cemetery.
The young men sweeping up on Saturday were smoking blunts and said their names were T-Mac and Boza. They described "Bigg" as one of the hottest rappers in Fairhill and said Bird was a funny guy.
The two teens died brutal deaths, with even veteran homicide investigators remarking on the carnage. Police say one gunman stood over the victims with a 9mm gun while another sprayed them with the AK-47.
An AK-47 can cause flesh wounds the size of grapefruits, said one detective, and blow apart flesh and bone.
The Fairhill victims looked as if they had stepped on land mines, the investigator said.
T-Mac and Boza said they were not unnerved by their friends' murders. But they were angry that a few nights earlier, someone had set fire to another sidewalk memorial in Bigg and Bird's memory.
"Let [them] know it's war," T-Mac said.
They kept smoking and lighting candles and did not seem to notice the men and women praying on the corner.
Tipsters with information about the cousins' killings should call police detectives at 215-686-3334 or 215-686-3362.
Contact staff writer Mike Newall at 215-854-2759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.