A year after a tragedy shook a Philadelphia community to its core, loved ones gathered to celebrate the lives of a mother and her three children.
On July 25, 2014, Keisha Williams, 34, her children, 15-year-old Keiearra Williams, 10-year-old Joseph Thomas Reed and 7-year-old Terrence Moore, and 70-year-old Thelma Brown were struck by a carjacked SUV while they were selling fruit on a street corner in the city’s Tioga section.
The three children were killed instantly. Williams, who was brain dead, died two weeks later in the hospital. Brown survived and continues to recover from her injuries.
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On the one-year anniversary of the tragedy, friends and family of Williams held a memorial cookout at the intersection of Allegheny and Germantown Avenue where the crash occurred. The event was an upbeat affair full of food, music and fond memories.
“Keisha wouldn’t want us to be all sad and depressed all the time crying,” said Sharmaine Williams, Keisha’s younger sister.
Sharmaine Williams has taken custody of her sister’s surviving children Charmaine, 12, and Aeisha, 14.
“She has two kids that she left here and we’re trying to uplift them,” Sharmaine said. “And we want them to enjoy themselves.”
Everything from the DJ to the food during Saturday’s event was donated. Organizers say it speaks to the strength of the members of the community.
“It is our job and responsibility to step up when we see things of this nature happen,” said Sheila Armstrong, one of the organizers.
Jonathan Rosa and Cornelius Crawford are facing second-degree murder charges as well as other charges related to the carjacking of a real estate agent in connection to the incident. Terrence Moore, the father of the youngest victim of the crash, told NBC10 Saturday’s show of support was comforting as he continues to wait for the trial to begin.
“I thank everybody for coming out here and showing their peace and love to me,” Moore said. “I’m just trying to stay strong and deal with it the best way I can.”