AS PHILIPPE Holland, the pizza deliveryman mistakenly shot by police last week, remains in the hospital, a West Philadelphia community is banding together to help the young man.
Although she doesn't know Holland, Alexis Buss, 41, who has lived near where he was shot for two decades, was moved to take action when she heard his tragic story.
"I imagine that he could use some no-strings-attached kindness right now," Buss wrote in an email to her neighbors last Thursday, the day after the shooting. "I don't know him, but I can appreciate that this was a horrible injustice and want to show him some support."
Within a few days, the donations were rolling in, Buss said. So far, more than $300 has been raised - and organizers say it's just the beginning. A PayPal fund to donate has been set up, and Mariposa Food Co-op, on Baltimore Avenue near 49th Street, a few blocks from where Holland was shot, is also taking donations.
"We just wanted to be supportive when we heard about it," said Patty Bulack, 57, another neighbor who helped organize the campaign.
Holland, 20, was wounded in the head, neck and leg by a pair of plainclothes officers who had responded to 51st and Willows streets last Wednesday night for a report of gunfire. Police have said the cops came across Holland - a college student who worked at an Upper Darby pizza shop and was on the block delivering food - and attempted to stop him.
Holland, apparently confused by the cops' street clothes, tried to drive away, leading them to open fire. He was unarmed.
Additional money for Holland is also being collected at the pizza shop where he worked, Slices & More, on Market near 69th, in Upper Darby, owner Tony Spirokostas said yesterday.
Holland's godfather, who asked that he not be identified, said his family will meet with doctors today at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where Holland is in stable condition, to discuss his prognosis. He said the family appreciates the efforts to raise money.
"That's a very kind thing, and it shows generosity of communities when tragedy happens," he said.
Police Internal Affairs continues to investigate the shooting.
To donate to the PayPal fund for Holland, visit PayPal.com and send to FundforPhil@gmail.com.