Philadelphia mom says son gunned down for testifying: ‘They killed him’

Khaleaf Sistrunk was shot last week while chatting with a friend across from City Hall

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The mother of a 21-year-old Philadelphia man who testified against an alleged gang member says her son was murdered for being a “snitch.”

Khaleaf Sistrunk was shot last week while chatting with a friend across from City Hall. Two gunmen reportedly walked up to him and fired 11 times. He was hit in the face, neck, and chest, according to Inquirer.com. He died from his injuries at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

Sistrunk’s mom, whose name is being withheld for her own safety, said her son was trying to do the right thing amid a violent war between groups of young men who live on 5th and 13th street in South Philadelphia.

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In 2018, a drive-by killed his older brother, Khalil Sistrunk. The following year his friend, 16-year-old William Bethel IV, was shot on Easter Sunday by a man named Zahmir White, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Sistrunk witnessed the crime and would ultimately testify in court against White. The move seemed to seal his fate, as he warned police that people were trying to kill him in retaliation for his involvement in the case.

White was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, and was sentenced to a minimum of 24 years in prison.

As a FedEx deliveryman, Sistrunk faced constant danger. In October, someone shot at his FedEx truck, injuring a co-worker. According to the report, there were eight assassination attempts within the past two years. The city had to relocate Sistrunk and his family due to the threats, but they were still followed.

“He felt that he had to do the right thing because it was his friend and because they killed his friend right in front of him,” Sistrunk’s mother said.

Just like his older brother, Sistrunk was killed due to senseless violence on 13th Street.

“They shot him because they said he was a snitch,” his mother said,. “He was trying to do the right thing and he got killed for it.”

A snitch, a person who assists a police investigation.

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Sistrunk was strapped with an unlicensed 9mm handgun at the time of his death, according to police.

“It’s highly likely that he was murdered due to his role in the 2019 trial,“ said Philadelphia Police Capt. Jason Smith,. “It’s retaliation for testifying.”

Police say there are no known suspects at this time.

Sistrunk’s mother has lost two sons, one of them was trying to turn his life around.

In July 2019, Sistrunk mugged a teenager in the subways, taking his debit card, SEPTA TransPass, and $17. An officer chased him back into his mother’s house. He pleaded guilty to a gun charge and spent nearly a year in jail before getting released in July of this year.

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