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Mom of slain W. Philly man: 'They took my everything.'

Gregory Pharr was gunned down by two alleged robbers as he headed home Thursday night, police said.

Gregory Pharr
Gregory PharrRead more

LISA HARLEY was inside her house Thursday night when she heard the gunshots.

A few of them, just before 10:30.

She did what she always does when she hears gunfire in her corner of West Philly - she called her son, Gregory Pharr, to make sure he was OK.

He didn't answer. But she wasn't worried.

Then, later that night, there came a knock at her door. It sounded like Gregory's, the kind he would use when it was late and he wanted to come inside.

But it wasn't him. And it never would be again.

Pharr, 25, died Thursday during a botched robbery on Media Street near Conestoga, less than a mile from his mother's doorstep on 58th Street.

The gunfire Harley heard occurred as two men - identified by police sources as Deree Walker and Travis Whithead - allegedly tried to rob Pharr and his longtime friend as they walked home from a nearby SEPTA trolley stop.

"They killed my child for nothing," Harley told the Daily News last night. "They took away someone who was my everything, took my only son, for absolutely nothing."

Investigators say Walker and Whithead, both 22, allegedly targeted Pharr and his friend, 27, as they were heading to Pharr's house. The incident ended in violence, with Walker and Pharr dying in a hail of gunfire.

Whithead, sources said, has been charged with robbery, and investigators are working to add a murder rap to that docket sheet.

The Daily News is withholding the 27-year-old's name due to the sensitive nature of the investigation.

Before the incident, the men were looking to unwind after a day of work, to seek shelter from the night's drizzle and play some video games.

Instead, they were accosted by the two suspects, who allegedly approached them from behind and demanded money. Whithead, according to police sources, produced a .40-caliber handgun, pointing it at the two men.

The 27-year-old was carrying a .40-caliber handgun of his own, one he has a permit for.

Gunfire rang out.

Walker collapsed in the street, shot in the stomach. Whithead, shot in the chest, tried to flee. He tossed his gun, ran into a nearby yard and collapsed.

Pharr, shot in the stomach, fell at his friend's feet.

All three were taken to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center by police. Walker and Pharr died there.

Last night, Whithead remained there in critical condition.

Meanwhile, back in West Philly, Harley remembered her son on a chilly, rainy night that was eerily similar to his last one alive.

Pharr was a father to a 4-year-old girl. He was a brother to two sisters. He was a loving son, one who was always laughing and had "friends everywhere."

None better than the 27-year-old with him when he died, one he'd known for 15 years, Harley said. They had become men together, formed a close bond through challenges in high school and beyond.

"He's just like my son," Harley said of the 27-year-old, noting the similarities between the two. "That's why they were so close."

More friends have stopped by. They sit on her porch, keep her company, reminisce about "Greg."

"It's like they've just taken over for him," she said.

They've been helping her get through the loss. And she has been helping them.

Tomorrow, the family is holding a service at the Francis Funeral Home, on 52nd Street near Whitby Avenue in West Philly. It's not a funeral, Harley stressed, but a "celebration of his life."

It's much needed, she said, after so much senseless death.

"You lost your life trying to rob someone, trying to take something that doesn't matter," she said of the suspects. "Now, three families are going through this bulls--t."