According to the city’s latest update, already this year, 192 people have been murdered in homicides. Of those 192 victims, there have been 21 young people under age 18 murdered in Philadelphia. Going into this week, it seems like more and more young people, around the city, are becoming victims of gun violence.
In relation to this latest report, Quamir “Day-Day” Mitchell, a senior student who played on the West Philadelphia High basketball team, traveled to a basketball court in Southwest Philadelphia. He was searching for a pickup game of basketball. But unfortunately, the 16-year-old senior guard never made it on the court. He was shot to death on May 13 around 7:30 PM.
According to Philadelphia Police, Mitchell was shot to death outside the fence. A police officer who was on patrol that evening spotted Mitchell and took him to Children’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 7:51 PM on Thursday, May 13. On that evening, Quamir Mitchell became one of the latest victims to die in gun violence in the city’s gun violence epidemic. He was a teenager who was set to graduate from West Philadelphia High in the next two weeks. According to his teachers, Mitchell was not only a good student, but he tried to be a role model for younger teenagers in his neighborhood.
In an effort to help neighbors cope with Mitchell’s death, City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson joined forces with the 12th District Police Captain and members of the community for an emergency “Peace Not Guns” Public Safety march to address the May 13th double shooting that left Mitchell dead and a 13-year-old boy got badly hurt after he was shot in his right arm. Today, the boy is still recovering from his injury. However, he was able to provide a description of the shooter.
Philadelphia Police say Mitchell was shot once in the chest and left to die on the 5600 block of Grays Avenue where the basketball court is located. Normally, Mitchell would have played his pick-up game at Christy Recreation Center where he often played with friends in that neighborhood. But Christy Recreation Center, located at 55th and Christian Street, has been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, at Deritis Playground, a vigil was held in honor of the 5-foot-7 guard. Over two hundred people showed up at 5600 Grays Avenue where the basketball court is located. A deep sense of loss was shared among the crowd. Many stories were told about Quamir Mitchell. Later on, the crowd cheered and released orange and balloons in the air. They gave tribute to a standout basketball player.
“Day-Day” Mitchell played many games at Christy Recreation Center. Youth basketball coach Yours truly, Napoleon Jackson recalls five years ago when Mitchell played in an all-star game. The game took place at Christy Recreation Center. Back then, Mitchell was just 11-years old. Coach Jackson watched the little guard score 17 points. Mitchell led the all-star team to a 53-42 victory.
“I was proud to have “Day-Day” on my All-Star team,” said Coach Jackson. “I knew I had a great player who could do many things on the court. I knew I had a player who could do great things with the basketball. Day-Day was a player who was very quick and really fast. His ball handling was just unbelievable. He reminded me of Allen Iverson. Day-Day could break down any defense and hit that jumper in a player’s face. He was that good. In the All-Star game, I let him loose. I told Day-Day to do his thing. He scored 17 points and picked off 5 steals. He was unstoppable. I had lost count of his rebounds, but Day-Day was all over the floor. He played a great game that day. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the Game. Yes, on that court he put on a show.”
Once Mitchell reached high school, he tried out for the West Philadelphia High Boys basketball team. He made the team with flying colors. He played four years for the West Philadelphia Speedboys. He helped lead the team to three playoff appearances. Mitchell played for Speedboys coach Adrien Burke. Burke had talked to Mitchell a few hours before he was killed. Burke had a good conversation with Mitchell. He told Mitchell he would see him at a basketball clinic.
“He was a real likable person, real likable person when you meet him and you know you like this person,” said Burke. “You knew he was going to be successful. He wasn’t going let anything stop him.”
Kenny Goings, a defensive football coach at West Philadelphia High, who often went to watch Mitchell at his basketball games, said he thought the world about the flashy little guard.
“Day-Day was a great basketball player,” said Goings. “He was one of the great ones in school history. He was a player who always listen to his coach. He was a player who got things done. I’m going to miss Day-Day. It’s a shame a person would kill him over something stupid. I hope when they catch the killer, that person gets the maximum sentence in prison.”
Chief Inspector Frank Vanore said a man was taken into custody, but he was later released. Vanore said homicide detectives are still searching for surveillance video or any witnesses who could lead them to making an arrest. Anyone with any information is asked to call police at 215-686-TIPS.
Meantime, Mitchell’s family has asked the public for privacy at this time as they process this devastating tragedy.