Anti-violence Community Activist “Chino” Sanchez Gunned Down in Kensington
As initially reported by GunCrisis.org, Wednesday night in Philadelphia was a bloody one: gunfire wounded six and killed one person before dawn.
A teenage boy was shot twice in the face and once in the back in Port Richmond. A 24-year-old woman was randomly shot near 13th and Bainbridge streets while walking home from work. A 36-year-old man was shot multiple times in East Germantown.
Just before 1 a.m., community activist Enrique “Chino” Sanchez, 24, was walking with a friend near Frankford and Castor in Kensington. It appears it was random: The Philadelphia Police confirm it was a robbery. A family member reports that he heard it was a stick-up, and that Chino and his friend had nothing but a pack of cigarettes to give to the robber. They ran, and both were shot. Chino was shot in the chest; his friend in the hip.
A crew from ABC’s Nightline was in town shooting scenes for a series called “A Day in the Life of the American Gun,” and they heard the radio call. “One of the young men was shot in the chest, extremely critical, so they put him in a wagon, they’re transporting him to Temple hospital now,” Sgt. John Hoyt reports into the camera as he drives toward the scene.
They continued filming as paramedics heaved Chino’s body out of an ambulance and onto a gurney to be rushed into surgery. He didn’t make it.
I met Chino in January 2011 while reporting on tactics of questionable legality employed by the police during the hunt for the Kensington Strangler. Like many other young men in the Kensington area at the time, Sanchez had volunteered his time walking the streets, handing out flyers, working the local intel to help find the killer.
Sanchez slipped into my car on a cold winter night to tell me about how—on his way home from a press conference held by Mayor Nutter to update citizens on the Strangler investigation—he was gripped up by police, who scrubbed his cheek for DNA.
We wound up talking about his family and life in Kensington. Chino Sanchez was an intelligent, soft-spoken young man. Family says that he was signed up and all set to participate in a new PPD-based initiative toward gun violence. He was an active member of Men United for a Better Philadelphia.
Chino was also a hip-hop artist. He was working on a song to honor children slain in the Newtown, Conn. massacre, according to a family member. A police spokesperson confirmed there are currently no leads, and no arrest.
A candlelight vigil and stop the gun violence rally will be held tonight at 7 p.m. outside 2023 Castor Ave. in Kensington.