Neighbors walk for peace after Frankford double homicide

Community leaders prayed for an end to violence after two men were gunned down on New Year’s Day in Frankford.

Pastor Larry Fowler, of Northeast Liberty Lutheran Church, speaks Thursday during a procession for peace in Frankford. JACK TOMCZUK / TIMES PHOTO

It was a violent start to 2020 in Frankford.

Two men were killed by gunfire in broad daylight New Year’s Day steps away from SEPTA’s bustling Arrott Transportation Center. 

Officers responded just after 2:15 p.m. to Griscom and Arrott streets and found several men trying to help 27-year-old Malik Milburn, who had been shot multiple times. Police rushed him to Temple University Hospital, where he later died.

Meanwhile, Javon Cooper, 24, showed up at Jefferson Frankford Hospital with two gunshot wounds to his chest. He was pronounced dead at 2:45 p.m., according to police.

It’s believed the incident stemmed from an argument of some kind, and the shooting was recorded on nearby surveillance cameras, investigators said. 

Authorities described the suspect as a black man in an orange jacket with a hood who was last spotted heading northbound on the 4700 block of Griscom. Homicide detectives continue to work on the case.

Police initially believed a third person, a 32-year-old woman, was connected to the shooting. She showed up to Jefferson Frankford around the same time of day with gunshot wounds to her right arm and left hand.

Lt. Dennis Rosenbaum, of Northeast Detectives, said authorities now believe she was injured in a separate, possibly domestic shooting. She is in stable condition. 

Faith leaders and community members gathered a day after the shooting in Frankford, where neighbors have become accustomed to gun violence, to process for peace.

Brother Andrew McCarty, of the Padre Pio Prayer Center, and Cristina Mancini lead a procession Thursday in Frankford. JACK TOMCZUK / TIMES PHOTO

“It’s a call to action for all of us to respond as individuals and communities of faith,” said Cristina Mancini, senior warden at St. Mark’s Church, who organized the event. 

Starting at the Padre Pio Prayer Center, housed in the former St. Joachim Church, they walked — singing hymns and stopping to pray — to the scene of the double homicide. They held signs that read “Stop the Violence” and “Know God Know Peace.”

“Oh loving and merciful God, we pray for those who have been murdered on the streets of our city,” Mancini, a Frankford native, said. “With the love that You have made known to us, we must create safer streets for all to walk upon.”

Pastor Larry Fowler, of Northeast Liberty Lutheran Church, said he is tired of the violence.

“What we need to do is turn back to prayer and love,” Fowler told the Times. “People don’t love each other anymore.”

Someone, possibly friends or family of the victims, left candles on the 4700 block of Griscom Street near the scene of the shooting. JACK TOMCZUK / TIMES PHOTO

The group was joined by State Rep. Joe Hohenstein and Inspector Frank Bachmayer, who recently was appointed commanding officer of the Northeast Police Division.

“It’s extremely important that we get that message out to the community that people care what’s going on,” Bachmayer told the crowd. “This affects our whole city, our whole community.” ••

Jack Tomczuk can be reached at jtomczuk@newspapermediagroup.com