Chester comes together to grieve and celebrate in wake of tragedy


The jerseys of Chester players Edward Harmon and teammate Jeremere Clark on the bench before the start of their P1AA state playoff game against Simon Gratz Wednesday evening at Cardinal O’Hara High School. Harmon was murdered and Clark injured in a shooting Tuesday. PETE BANNAN — MEDIANEWS GROUP

By Terry Toohey

Several Chester players paraded around the court at Cardinal O’Hara holding up Edward Harmon’s jersey amid a throng of fans after the Clippers’ astonishing 63-62 victory over Simon Gratz in the second round of the PIAA Class 6A playoffs Wednesday night.

Despite the thrilling way the game ended, on a long-distance three-point shot by Zahmir Carroll as time expired, this wasn’t a celebration as much as it was a part of the healing process from a tragedy that no one, especially a group of teenagers, should ever have to go through.

Just one day earlier, Harmon, a sophomore forward on the Chester basketball team, was killed, along with 15-year-old Tayvonne Avery, amid a multiple shooting that also left Jermere Clark, also a sophomore forward on the varsity basketball team, wounded.

“They were just out there playing basketball when someone started shooting,” said former Chester great Keith Wood, Harmon’s step-grandfather. “It just makes no sense.”

That’s a sad reality in Chester. Harmon and Avery were the 10th and 11th murder victims in the city.

“Unfortunately, where we live, this is not a new occasion,” Chester-Upland superintendent Dr. Juan Baughn said before the game. “And, unfortunately, we’ve had too much practice at this. … At a time like this, everybody’s in pain.”

(click on this link for the full story)