With staccato-like regularity, guns are killing children. Epidemic. Public health crisis. Tragedy. By whatever name, these deaths bring profound loss to families and communities. This series attempts to capture the look, the sound, and the feel of this loss.
It's as if the minute Darnell Winn, 15, was shot and killed Saturday night, the streets started screaming his name: "Mook."
The nickname is spray-painted on abandoned houses, freshly tattooed on friends' forearms, scrawled on teddy bears on the sidewalk at 20th and Mifflin Streets in South Philadelphia where he was killed.
Mook's mother, Darcell Winn, says her son, a ninth grader at South Philadelphia High, wasn't good at reading and writing but loved art. "God takes one thing from you and he gives you another thing," she said. She paid $130 a month so Darnell could send drawings to a correspondence art school.
In Mook's room, his brother Da'Shawn, 2, tries to open a box of paintbrushes Mook received for Christmas. His mother regards the boy she gave birth to at 40. "God takes one," she says, "and I guess he gave me the baby."
A riveter, Darcell Winn was working when her mother called around midnight with confusing news. "I thought, 'Lord, it's not time for me to punch out.' "
Earlier, she had reminded Mook and his brother Dawoyne, 16, who were staying the night at their grandmother's, that they needed nice clothes for her birthday the next day. The brothers were heading home to get them when shots rang out. Police are investigating.
In a school composition last year, Mook wrote: "I believe that people shoud not be able to get a gun ... I believe that people shoud have to pay tax's. I believe in god because he is a powerful man. I believe in luck. I believe there is a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. I will go to collage and get a great J.O.B."