FOR KIM JONES, life was about caring for others. The mother spent the last several years working at an organization that helps abused and neglected children.
But with the pull of a trigger yesterday morning - a single bullet fired into the dedicated child-advocacy worker's head as she went off to work - that was all gone.
Police said Jones, 56, left her North Philadelphia home about 9 a.m. and walked less than a block to a bus stop at 12th and Jefferson streets, just as she had each day for several years on her way to her job at Center City-based Turning Points for Children.
Jones, a police source said, would listen to gospel music on her Beats by Dre headphones as she waited for the Route 23 bus down 12th Street to get to the organization's office at 15th and Lombard, where she directed the Family and Schools Together Program.
Yesterday morning, police said, a cold-blooded killer was watching Jones. Homicide Capt. James Clark said it was someone who studied the woman's routine, and was lying in wait until about 9:15 a.m. when Jones was ambushed as she stood in the winter chill at the corner. She was killed instantly by a single gunshot to the back of her head.
Jones' phone, headphones, purse and jewelry were intact when police arrived minutes later, Clark said, leading police to rule out robbery as the motive in the execution-style shooting. She died on the pavement, he said.
"For whatever reason, she was targeted. It's not a random act," Clark said. "We don't know why she was targeted. Obviously, we'll get to the bottom of that and hopefully we'll get the person responsible for this very quickly."
At Jones' modest rowhouse late yesterday afternoon, a young man who identified himself as her son stood on the porch looking shell-shocked. He declined to be interviewed, except to say that his mother was a great woman.
Jones' Facebook page says she was married last month.
Her killer, described as a heavy black man who wore black clothing and carried a black duffel bag, was last seen walking west on Jefferson Street.
Clark said detectives were checking video in the area, including a city camera near the corner and SEPTA surveillance cameras, in hopes of catching a glimpse of the shooter. Nearby Temple University also has cameras in the area, he said.
Investigators were talking with Jones' relatives and friends to see if anyone could shed light on why someone might want to harm the well-loved mother who earned a master's of business administration and had dedicated more than a decade to her work at the children's-advocacy organization.
Clark implored the public for help in solving the heartless killing - the city's 15th homicide in in the young year's first 13 days.
He said that detectives received a few tip calls yesterday, but that as of midafternoon they had no clear leads.
"Right now, we don't have anything solid," he said, noting that if anyone "saw anything, we need them to contact our unit and tell us what they saw."
He asked that anyone who was near 12th and Jefferson between 9 and 9:30 a.m. and noticed anything out of the ordinary - no matter how insignificant it may have seemed - to call detectives.
Jones' horrific slaying sent shock waves through her organization and the school district, with which she worked closely.
District spokesman Fernando Gallard said members of the Office of Early Childhood Education who worked with Jones were too distraught to comment yesterday. He described her as "dedicated" and a "very positive and tremendous asset."
Jones' boss at Turning Points for Children echoed that.
"We are devastated by the news of Kim's death. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family," Turning Points CEO Mike Vogel said in a statement.
"She was an incredible person and wonderful colleague who inspired everyone she worked with. . . . We will all feel this loss."
Tipsters should call 215-686-3334 or text a tip to PPD TIP (773847).
- Staff writer Regina Medina
contributed to this report.