City leaders, residents upset over violence

Author: , Reporter, DParker@wfmz.com
Published: May 16 2012 08:00:00 PM EDT   Updated On: May 17 2012 11:14:52 AM EDT
City leaders, residents upset over violence
READING, Pa. -

When many think of the IMAX Theatre, the GoggleWorks, and the brand new apartment complex being constructed on 2nd and Washington streets, in Reading, they don't generally think of murders.

But for many, that changed Wednesday.

"Well, they're trying to make Reading a better place, and I don't think that's happening because look what's going on," said Jackie McIntosh.

The body of Alexander Stewart was found Wednesday in the 100 block of Thorn Street, right next to the parking lot of the GoggleWorks, which is part the city's main tourist destination, Entertainment Square, police said.

"Some people probably don't want to come here because they're scared," said Dee McIntosh. "GoggleWorks is a nice place. Why did this boy get killed around there?  For what?"

In response to Stewart's shooting death, local artist Ed Terrell took to Entertainment Square with a giant effigy dressed in a black t-shirt that read: Stop the Violence.

"And these types of events usually happen when there's suffering and people have access to guns," said Terrell, from the African American Coalition of Reading Art Gallery.

The spot where Stewart's body was found is also part the Ricktown Arts District.

City officials said they have spent millions of dollars developing the area with the hopes of changing the city's image. City officials said police are doing their best to keep the area patrolled.

"And I know that our chief of police is trying to schedule the people the right way, when it's needed, to target areas. They're doing a lot of prevention, and that's basically what we can do," said City Council President Francis Acosta.

Meanwhile, Stewart's family members said they will be waiting for justice.

"Please, we're begging, someone please just call. Any information, even if you think it may be insignificant, it's something, and we need something to move forward because we can't," said Andria Brewer, Stewart's cousin. "Our family is destroyed and we're pleading, please, someone make that phone call."

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Alert Berks County at 877-373-9913. Anonymous tipsters who provide information that leads to an arrest could receive a cash reward of up to $10,000.