Eyewitness to Alex Guevara’s shooting at peace concert speaks to AL DÍA
Marcell Lawrence and Alex Guevara grew up together in the Olney section of Philadelphia, friends since the fifth grade. Lawrence knew the Ecuadorian-American Guevara as a confident guy, someone who knew what he wanted to do in life, protective of his family, always talking about his older sister Dolly, and in love with his girlfriend Meassochetra Sem — Mea, for short.
There was every reason for Lawrence to believe that he’d be around to see his friend — who he describes as strong-willed and positive — graduate with the pediatric nursing degree he was set to start studying for in the fall.
Instead, on Wednesday, Aug. 13, Lawrence found himself holding his friend and supporting Alex’s head as the life bled out of him on the asphalt of the parking lot of the Dell Music Center where the two 20 year olds had gone together to attend a peace concert.
Lawrence had driven them in his car, taking a wrong turn along the way and had gotten lost. When they finally arrived at the concert venue, they weren’t allowed in. “We ... and others behind us who wanted to go in were told that we couldn't. I don't know if it was because the venue was full or if there was not enough security,” Lawrence recounted to AL DÍA News.
“We chatted with a group of girls that were in their car. Alex and I were joking around, just laughing in the parking lot,” Lawrence said. “I saw someone sitting on the hood of my car and I asked him ‘Can you get off my car please? The guy on the hood of my vehicle jumped off my car and aggressively approached me. He said ‘What are you saying? What are you saying?’”
Things escalated quickly from there. Lawrence said he saw another man and a gun aimed at him.
“The gunman backed me into the car (that the girls were in) and said, ‘Hey, gold watch, run in your pockets.’ I had on my gold watch, and I knew I was being robbed,” Lawrence said.
“Alex came to my side,” he continued. “The gunman's accomplice was reaching over to take my watch, I yanked my hand back and that was when the gunman raised his gun to my head.”
Lawrence said Guevara grabbed the wrist of the man with the gun and punched him. Then Lawrence heard a shot, and both he and Alex started running.
“I don't remember taking more than one step when I heard another shot,” Lawrence said. “I looked over at Alex to see if he was okay. He was laying right next to my car. I thought he just fell. I reached out to raise my friend off the ground. Alex reached for my hand, and I as I tried to pull him up I saw a pool of blood on his back and the ground.”
Lawrence called for someone to get an ambulance, then ran to get help from the security guard at the entrance.
Heartbreakingly, he didn’t get any. “He closed the gate on me as I was yelling for help,” Lawrence recounted. “I was asking for help, and it seemed like everyone was disappearing. We needed help, but we were alone.”
“I heard Alex call me ‘Bro, bro,’ as he waved me over. He said ‘Just help me up really fast.’ I picked him off the ground, and his legs were limp. I felt all of his weight in my hands,” Lawrence said.
He sat Guevara back down on the ground. “Alex said to me ‘Don't leave me here.’ I was supporting his head, and he said to me, ‘Bro, take me to the hospital.’ This whole time (he was) calm when he said those things to me, like it was just another conversation.”
Lawrence didn’t move to take Guevara to the hospital — he was scared he’d get lost again as he had on the way to the concert, only this time Guevara would be bleeding and wounded while he did — instead he kept supporting his friend and hoped help would come to them.
“I sat with him,” Lawrence said. “I could no longer look at the blood on him. I remembered looking at the parking lot lights, and then I felt an arm on my shoulder. It was a cop. That was when I looked down at Alex and his eyes were not moving. The cops and I quickly grabbed him and put him in the police car, and they transported him to the hospital.”
Guevara was declared dead at Temple University hospital in the early hours of Thursday, Aug. 14. Lawrence said the police showed him the video surveillance that same day. “The accomplice walked right by the camera,” he said. “They have a clear photo of his face.”
Police released Guevara’s name as the victim of the shooting on Friday, Aug. 15. According to Dolly Guevara, the police have told her they'll be releasing the video today. Still, Lawrence echoes her earlier statements to AL DÍA when he says doesn’t understand why the police didn't release the video surveillance earlier. “I am shocked that it has not been released,” he said. “I believe that someone would come forward if the photo (were) available to the public. Also, there were many witnesses to this crime.”
He spoke to AL DÍA, Lawrence said, because he wants to help bring a sense of closure to Guevara’s family and friends.
“The gunman robbed us all of our brother, Alex Guevara,” he said.
The Guevara family has set up a gofundme page to help pay for Alex's funeral expenses. Click here to contribute.