Seeking Peace in Philly

Anti-Violence Advocate Gunned Down in North Philadelphia

Those who knew Michael Muhammad said he was a community advocate who worked to reduce the violence and improve conditions in his neighborhood.

NBC Universal, Inc.

A community is mourning Michael Muhammad, an anti-violence activist and block captain who was shot and killed in North Philadelphia last month. NBC10’s Steven Fisher speaks with another community advocate who hopes to honor Muhammad’s legacy by continuing his work.

What to Know

  • Michael Muhammad, a block-captain and anti-gun violence activist in North Philadelphia, was shot and killed while leaving a corner store on 10th and Brown streets back on November 27.
  • Those who knew Muhammad said he was a community advocate who worked to reduce the violence and improve conditions in his neighborhood.
  • No arrests have been made in Muhammad's murder.

Loved ones are mourning an anti-violence advocate who was shot and killed in Philadelphia last month. As police continue to search for the gunman, those who knew the victim are hoping to continue his work and honor his legacy. 

Michael Muhammad, a block-captain and anti-gun violence activist in North Philadelphia, was leaving a corner store on 10th and Brown streets back on November 27 when a gunman opened fire, shooting him at least once. Muhammad later died from his injuries, falling victim to the very thing he was fighting against. 

“He loved this community so it was in his heart to do it which is a beautiful thing,” Aquila Lee, Muhammad’s fiancee, told NBC10. 

Lee told NBC10 her fiance’s mission was to clean up the streets both literally and figuratively. He also helped young people find jobs. 

Muhammad was one of the four people murdered in the neighborhood in the past four months and one of the 521 people overall who were murdered in Philadelphia so far this year, the deadliest on record. 

“Right now the community is in trauma,” Stanley Crawford, a member of the Black Male Community Council, told NBC10. 

Crawford worked with Muhammad to try and find solutions to the violence plaguing their community. 

“He was so enthusiastic about the potentiality of the help that was coming here through the help he was bringing and we were working diligently to make a nice, peaceful community like it was at one time,” Crawford said. 

Prior to his death, Muhammad also spoke with NBC10 back in early October in reaction to a viral video of a Philadelphia police officer confronting and yelling at a man in his North Philly neighborhood.

“We don’t want our children to look at the police as if they are the enemy,” Muhammad told NBC10. “But unfortunately some police are the enemy because they are actually policing us instead of policing with us.”  

While loved ones know how much of a loss Muhammad’s death will have on their community, they are also vowing to build off his work.

“He wanted to do a lot of things that were positive for this community,” Crawford said. “So what his murder did is up our efforts to do what we can do as an organization to help this community.”

No arrests have been made in Muhammad’s murder and police have not released a detailed description of the gunman. They continue to investigate. 

Figures from the city controller’s office show shootings have accounted for at least 445 of this year’s killings in Philadelphia. Those figures also show nearly 1,700 people have sustained nonfatal gunshot wounds.

Last week both Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf rejected calls to issue emergency declarations on gun violence, arguing that such a declaration is not needed in light of their continued efforts to stem the bloodshed.

There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.