March 10, 2015, Philadelphia, Pa. – The Philadelphia Anti-Drug/Anti-Violence Network, along with students from 11 Philadelphia high schools, observed a moment of silence for fallen Philadelphia Police Officer Robert Wilson, III and the victims of gun violence during their 18th Annual Anti-Violence Volleyball Tournament.
The event took place at the South Philadelphia High School Gymnasium, located at 2101 Broad Street, on Tuesday, March 10.
Philadelphia Public League high schools who participated in the round-robin tournament included: Washington High School, Masterman High School, Engineering and Science High School, Academy of Palumbo, Lincoln High School, Central High School, South Philadelphia High School, Fels High School, Northeast High School, Olney High School, and Edison High School.
More than 350 students, faculty, parents and community leaders attended the event this year. The event is held annually to promote our initiative against violence in our schools and communities. Damian Padilla, East District supervisor for the Youth Violence Reduction Partnership, started this event 18 years ago in an effort to help teens and at-risk youth who live in some of Philadelphia’s deadliest police districts, steer clear of gangs, drugs and violence and who are trapped in a cycle of crime and incarceration.
Padilla is also a gun violence survivor. In February 2009, he was shot six times by a gunman while coming to the aid of a bartender at a local bar. He laid in a coma for nearly seven months. The gunman was arrested and convicted. Padilla survived the ordeal and shares his story throughout high schools across our region.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends, and fellow officers of Philadelphia Police Officer Robert Wilson, III and to all the victims of gun violence throughout Philadelphia’s communities.