Mayor John Linder, of Chester, said he is in no way deterred by the carjacking of his wife last Wednesday. In a prepared statement he sent to The Spirit last Thursday, Linder said he will continue to aggressively address gun violence in the city. He also believes the community is just as resolved to do what it can to stop violence in their neighborhoods.
“I am no less deterred today from our mission than I was at 9 P.M. last night (Wednesday),” said Linder. “With every resource we have to bare in ground operations in Chester, we are placing our highest priority on public safety and will continue to do so.”
Around 9:30 P.M. last Wednesday, Deena Linder was carjacked after she parked her 2005 Ford Taurus outside their home on Reaney Street. Three men approached her, put a gun to her head, demanded her purse and took her car. She was physically unharmed. Later the stolen vehicle was recovered; found at 7th and Norris sts.
Four suspects were arrested by police but three of the four were released as the investigation continues. The suspect who remains in custody is Jasper Gregory Moy, 24, a Chester resident, being held on $250,000 bail. The suspect was identified as running from the car wearing the same clothing as one of the described carjackers. Linder said he is thankful that no one’s life was taken.
“When I looked into the face of the young man who paused momentarily before fleeing in our car, he looked back at me,” said Linder. “Could he have thought, ‘I know that man?’ It’s an instance that could be the reason no lives were taken.”
Chester’s struggle to decrease gun violence has been compared to that of Wilmington, Philadelphia and New York by some in the press, but Linder says Chester is different in size and familiarity among neighbors.
“Our community cannot be compared to our larger regional neighbors — New York, Philadelphia, Wilmington — because in our population of 34,000 we know our neighbors,” said Linder. “This is perhaps the hardest reality to face, the fact that we have grown up with the families of our assailants and victims, in some cases we are related to them. This says to me that we can solve our problems as a community, not a group of strangers, but a union of neighbors and neighborhoods.”
Linder said that incident underscores the harsh reality that gun violence has no respect of persons and no one is immune to it.
“My family was fortunate, far more fortunate than (others) I have had the displeasure of attending to at a crime scene or hospital,” said Linder. “To those who believe that any of us in this nation of illegal gun use are immune to violence, know that every one of us suffers at the realities of this falsehood.”
Linder also made clear that criminals are not to feel comfortable in Chester because they will be pursued by law enforcement.
“I applaud the swift work of our law enforcement agencies and believe that this kind of police work will deter lesser criminals who believe themselves invincible,” said Linder. “To the criminals, I say you are not safe inside Chester proper, and neither I, nor the good citizens of Chester, will quit or give in, our resolve is strong, and this community belongs to us.”
The incident happened only a week after Linder announced an anti-violence initiative called “Operation City Surge” in collaboration with Delaware County detectives and District Attorney John “Jack” Whelan.
The “surge” began on May 6th in the early morning when Delaware County sheriffs surprised 10 fugitives in Chester as they swept through and arrested them for outstanding warrants relating to violent crimes. The crime sweep is promised to be one of many that will take place throughout the city in response to the increase of homicides and gun violence.
The “surge” also brings together an unprecedented collaboration of law enforcement agencies to reinforce police efforts to end the gun violence that has wreaked havoc across the city’s neighborhoods.