Memorial to the Lost

Memorial to the Lost
at Chester Eastside Ministries

Thursday, February 25, 2016

On the Editorial Page of today's Delco Times

It’s perfectly legitimate question, one that continues to haunt the city of Chester.
What is a 16-year-old kid doing with a gun on a Chester school bus?
And maybe more important, where did the gun come from and how did it wind up in the hands of a teenager who police say opened fire after getting off the bus.
Those questions are being asked by people like Fran Stier and the Rev. Bernice Warren. They’re active in a group called Heeding God’s Call, a faith-based anti-violence organization.
And they’re not the only ones.
Chester police also are pressing their investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident, which resulted in adult charges being filed against a 16-year-old after police say he opened fire, wounding one teen in the buttocks. Incredibly, no one was more seriously injured.
Chester Police Chief James Nolan said his department is pushing their investigation, in particular trying to track where the gun came from that wound up in the hands of 16-year-old Josue Fernandez.
Nolan knows there are entirely too many guns on Chester’s streets, and a big part of the problem is illegal gun sales, known as straw purchases. That is what happens when someone who is not legally allowed to purchase a handgun hooks up with someone who can legally make the purchase. Bottom line? The gun winds up in the wrong hands.
to read more, click here

In Tuesday's Delco Times: Where did Josue Fernandez get his gun?

by Patti Mengers

Moved by the arrest last week of a 16-year-old Chester High School student suspected of shooting a fellow student in the buttocks when he exited the school bus, members of Heeding God’s Call, a faith-based anti-gun violence movement, called for renewed efforts to curb the illegal sale and transfer of guns.
“The Chester/Delco Chapter of Heeding God’s Call to end gun violence asks, how are these guns reaching the streets? Through straw sales? Through gun trafficking from other states?” wrote Fran Stier in a letter to the editor she co-authored with fellow group member, the Rev. Bernice Warren.
Stier has been a member of Congregation Ohev Shalom in Nether Providence for about 30 years. Warren has been director of Chester Eastside Ministries since 1995. They noted that at 16, Josue Fernandez, who surrendered to Chester police Friday in connection with the school bus shooting, was too young to legally purchase a gun in Pennsylvania where the law requires a person to be 18 to possess or transfer a firearm.
Chester Police Chief James Nolan said on Monday afternoon he is not at liberty to disclose what is known about how the 16-year-old suspect allegedly acquired the gun, as it is an active case.
to read more, click here

Saturday, February 20, 2016

This week in the Delco Times: Another conviction for straw sales at Miller's Sporting Goods

MEDIA COURTHOUSE >> A 27-year old Chester man was sentenced to five to 10 years in a state correctional institution Tuesday under a mandatory minimum sentence for firearm “straw buyers” who illegally resell legally purchased guns on the street.
Ronald Eli Williams, of the 1200 block of Crosby Street, pleaded guilty to six consolidated counts of illegally transferring firearms he purchased at local stores between Sept. 2011 and June 2014. Deputy District Attorney George Dawson invoked the mandatory minimum under the Brad Fox law for defendants convicted of more than one instance of illegal firearm sales.
Police recovered a .40 cal. Smith and Wesson Highpoint pistol from a man during a traffic stop in Jan. 2014, according to an affidavit of probable cause written by Pennsylvania State Police Trooper John Hanosek. The firearm was reported stolen to Chester Police May 21, 2013, and was entered into evidence at the state police barracks in Media.
Williams contacted Hanosek in Nov. 2014 asking about the gun and was told he would have to come in to retrieve it from evidence. Williams was interviewed by state police troopers on the purchase of several firearms when he arrived Dec. 16, 2014.
to read more, click here