Saturday, August 05, 2006

Inquirer: The Street Took Them All

Philadelphia Inquirer chronicles six tragic stories.

Anthony Chisholm was 9 when he secretly played with his stepfather's pistol.

Jamil Thomas was 10 when an older boy let him hold a 9mm.

Raymond Ferguson was 11, his brother, 12, when they spotted a plastic shopping bag at a playground, with distinctive outlines.

Both boys knew what was inside.

Luis Cheverez at 13 burglarized a house, scoring a Glock.

At 14, Tyson Montgomery stole a .357-caliber snub-nosed revolver.

Antwian Melvin was 15 when a friend gave him a Ruger.

As Philadelphia reels from mounting gun deaths and shootings, especially among black males in their teens and 20s, the question at the heart of the problem is: Why?

Offering insights are the stories of these six young men, all sent to Pine Grove State Correctional Institution, a prison in Western Pennsylvania for juveniles convicted of adult crimes.

Three are in state prison for armed robbery, another for shooting and paralyzing a 19-year-old. Two are serving life sentences for murder.

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