Seven cars filled with a dozen relatives, a retired detective, a minister and his lawyer yesterday accompanied accused killer James Canady, 15, to turn himself in to police for Thursday's fatal shooting of the immigrant owner of Lu's Grocery in Lawndale.
Canady, of Carver Street near Colgate, about a block from the grocery, had been on the run since Thursday.
Police said that about 10 a.m. that day, Canady and an accomplice, Darrin White, 18, allegedly donned masks to rob Jiaxing Lu, 49, owner of Lu's Grocery, at Cheltenham Avenue and Colgate Street.
Lu pushed the pair out of the store, but then Canady allegedly fired at him through a screen door, alerting Lu's wife and daughter upstairs, who called 911, police said.
Lu's wife and mother later identified Canady as the youth who tried to rob the store with an inoperable BB gun last November, police said.
An hour later, Lu was pronounced dead at Albert Einstein Medical Center.
Yesterday, Canady's sister, Tamika, 20, cried for "my only little brother," charged with murder, robbery and weapons offenses, while Lu's two daughters grieved for a father who worked hard so his children could attend college, marry and have a better life here.
"Family was everything to him," said his youngest daughter, a 19-year-old Temple University student who declined to give her name or her brother's.
Tamika Canady said that her brother and White, also charged with murder, robbery and weapons offenses, "weren't good friends." They got to know each other when both started dating sisters.
She said she didn't know her brother to have a gun. "He wasn't into that," she added. "He was always on the basketball court or with his girlfriend."
He expected to return to Samuel Fels High School as a sophomore, she said.
Tamika Canady said that friends and neighbors, who saw James grow up in the neighborhood for the past six or seven years "are not speaking no more because of the nonsense."
"I don't want people in the neighborhood to think of him as a bad person, because he's not," she added.
Immediately after the murder, Lu's family vowed to sell the grocery store and move to New York because of the violence in the city, but they were faced with having to earn a living for the family.
"It takes time to get everything settled," said the youngest daughter.
Yesterday, both daughters waited on customers as an uncle hovered near the door. Lu's oldest daughter, LiXia, appeared so grief-stricken she could not talk. Their mother is "devastated," said the youngest daughter.
As for Canady turning himself in," said the youngest daughter, "His mom must have known he had a gun. Why didn't she . . ." She stopped, leaving her thoughts unspoken.
"After the November incident, he'd stay outside the store and send someone else in," she said.
"Just because you're having a tough time, you go get a gun and kill someone?
"He's 15 years old. You get a good education, you go to college and get a job. You'd have a way better future than going to spend the rest of your life in jail," she added.
Fifteen years ago, Jiaxing Lu arrived in America and worked long hours every day for seven years before he saved enough money to bring his wife and three children here from Changle in Fujian province in China.
The family lived for six years in Glenolden, where they briefly operated a restaurant, before buying the grocery store in Lawndale two years ago, said the youngest daughter.
LiXia, who was engaged, had planned her wedding for next year, said her sister. Their brother married earlier this year.
In Chinese tradition, a betrothed child must marry within 100 days of the death of a parent, or wait at least two years to honor the deceased, said the youngest sister. "We are not ready to have a wedding this year."