On Friday, November 18, 8-year-old Jayanna Powell was killed at 63rd and Lansdowne Avenue in West Philadelphia while walking home from school. The driver who murdered Jayanna did not stop and has not been caught since the incident occurred.
On Wednesday, November 23, Jayanna’s family, friends, and neighbors held a rally in her honor, and to get the word out that police are still looking for her killer.
The Bicycle Coalition’s Bob Previdi was at the rally, which about 100 people attended. The mood was one of sadness, as was to be expected.
Those in attendance—which included police captains, and Philadelphia Schools Superintendent Dr. Hite—were stopping traffic to pass out fliers letting residents know Jayanna was murdered at the intersection, and that there was a $20,000 reward (it has since been raised to $25,000, including $10,000 from the mayor’s office and $15,000 from the Fraternal Order of Police) for information leading to her killer’s arrest. In the meantime, a GoFundMe page has been set up for the victim’s family.
A police escort followed the rally.
According to Jayanna’s 12-year-old brother, Hassan Cox, they were walking home from school on Nov. 18 when a car sped through the crosswalk at 63rd and Lansdowne, stiking her and knocking him down.
Sadly, noted Previdi, the importance of the rally was lost on some in the area. Cars backed up due to the crowd honked and yelled at many of the friends and family to get out of the street at times.
Jayanna’s mother spoke to the press today, and called for the driver of the vehicle to turn themselves in. Police have promised an intensive effort in finding the killer.
Anyone with information about the case is being asked to contact Philadelphia Police at 215-686-TIPS, or the Philadelphia FOP at 215-629-3626.
Jayanna is the 66th person killed in Philadelphia traffic violence this year, and the 35th pedestrian. 2016 has been an anomaly as traffic deaths are concerned in Philadelphia, as more than half have been pedestrians — up from about a third on average for previous years, going back to 1985.