Fifty-six-year-old Kim Jones, who worked helping abused children in collaboration with a nonprofit and the city’s school district, who had just gotten married and was relishing in the achievement of receiving her MBA, was killed last week as she began her commute.
Jones was shot once in the head at 12th and Jefferson streets around 9:15 a.m. on Jan. 13 while waiting for a bus to her job at Turning Points for Children, an organization that aims to foster nurturing families and protect children from abuse.
When the gunfire rang out through Yorktown just two blocks from Main Campus, neighbors within earshot thought they heard a popping tire or other malfunction on the No. 23 SEPTA bus – few, if any, expected something more sinister. But there lay Jones, a woman they respected; gone in an instant, her blood running into the storm drain.
They mourned her in a Friday vigil at the site of her death and called for justice around a memorial of stuffed animals and candles below a sign that read ‘PEACE’ as an acronym, an anti-violence guideline behind each letter.
For the letter ‘P’: “Please stop the killing…let them live a healthy old age.”
The memorial was dedicated “in loving memory to Mrs. Kim Jones and the many others that lost their lives due to crime.”
Andre Jourden, Jones’ 33-year-old son who resides in Jacksonville, Florida, spoke to the crowd at the vigil and with media afterward.
“My mother was a great person and she deserved a lot better than this,” he told reporters. “She was 100 percent selfless. Her life was helping other people. She dedicated her life to that. She worked hard at Turning Points for Children, but she worked just as hard in the church soup kitchen. … it was her passion.”
Jourden said the faith in his family – his mother was listening to gospel music before she died – helped in the mourning process.
“That’s keeping a lot of people sane,” he said, fighting back tears.
He urged the crowd to “speak up” if anyone had any information to help in locating his mother’s killer.
According to Philadelphia CeaseFire, an anti-youth-violence advocacy organization in the School of Medicine which is located at 1700 N. Broad St., losing someone in a community can have adverse effects beyond the immediate family.
“Violence affects the security [of communities] tremendously,” Robert Warner, program manager of Philadelphia CeaseFire, said. “Especially when a person like [Kim Jones] is killed, she could have sons or daughters. That could be my mother, or somebody else’s mother … so it hurts the community a lot.”
One resident asked the community to “please come out and support the family.”
“I need you all out here to support them and let them know that we love them, and that [Kim Jones] will be missed,” she said.
Kim’s co-worker for more than 10 years, Mary Bernard, said the community would band together after what happened.
“We stick together, in good times and in bad times,” she said through a megaphone provided by Philadelphia CeaseFire. “Whoever did this, they’re not going to sleep right. They’re never going to sleep right … but we are one … and we’re going to keep being one.”
As of Monday, police made public only that they could track Jones’ suspected killer, through surveillance camera footage, to the Hunting Park subway station. But the trail goes cold there. There is not even certainty of the suspect’s race or gender: while previously described as an African-American male, that description has since been withdrawn.
As seen in footage compiled by police, the ambiguous suspect, carrying a duffel bag, wore a black jacket and pants, an aviator cap with fur-trim flaps and white or silver Beats brand headphones.
After the murder, the suspect passed The Fresh Grocer and Morgan Hall before boarding the subway at the Cecil B. Moore station and riding it north.
The individual is considered armed and very dangerous. Police are offering a reward of $20,000 for his capture.
Anyone with information is asked to call Philadelphia Police at 215-686-3388.
Joe Brandt, Steve Bohnel and Lian Parsons can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 215.204.7419 or on Twitter @TheTempleNews.
Patrick McCarthy contributed reporting.