The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Tuesday, February 17, 2004  

Requiescat in Pacem

Faheem Thomas-Childs, elementary school student: 1994-2004.

That which the city greatly feared has come upon us.

Faheem Thomas-Childs

The Philadelphia Inquirer today reports (“Boy Who Was Shot at School is Dead,” by Vernon Clark and Thomas J. Gibbons Jr.):

Faheem Thomas-Childs, the 10-year-old who had been the focus of hopes and prayers since he was shot in the face Wednesday morning while walking to school, died yesterday of his wounds.

The third grader, who was called a “peacemaker” by his teacher at T.M. Peirce Elementary School in North Philadelphia, was pronounced dead at 4:15 p.m. at Temple University Children’s Medical Center, sources said. […]

Faheem’s home on Lehigh Avenue was dark last night. Members of his family, who had kept vigil at the hospital despite the grim prognosis after the shooting, were not available. He had been unconscious from the moment he was wounded.

Faheem and a crossing guard, Debra Smith, were wounded outside Peirce, at 23d and Cambria Streets, by stray gunfire about 8:30 a.m. during a shoot-out between rival gangs. […]

That gun battle unleashed a blizzard of nearly 100 shots in the area as children were arriving for school. […]

During his brief life, Faheem impressed people who knew him. He was an A-plus student and a classroom leader, his third-grade teacher, Robert Cunningham, said in an interview last week.

“He’s polite, gentle,” Cunningham said. “He was a real peacemaker.”

(The Philadelphia Daily News also reports Thomas-Childs’s death, “Boy Caught in Drug-war Crossfire Dies,” by Simone Weichselbaum, Nicole Weisensee Egan, and Catherine Lucey.)

Police have arrested two men in connection with the crime but believe four others also were involved. A local lawmaker and the Daily News have assembled a substantial reward for information that leads to the shooters.

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