Kindness Amidst The Sorrow

Kenny Huckstep, 22, was shot to death on Nov. 15th. His murderer remains at large.

The murder of Kenneth Huckstep has been a nightmare for his family.

Kenny, 22, was shot to death on Nov. 15th at 1:30am, in the 7300 block of Craig St., near his home on Decatur, where he lived with his parents.

The investigation continues, and his murderer is still at large.

What has brought comfort to his family is the memory of the kindness and compassion of the two Philadelphia police officers who had to break the news to them that Kenny was gone.

So moved was Kenny's grandmothjer, Catherine Lee, that she asked that I write something expressing her family's gratitude to Lt. Mark Bugieda and Ofc. Alfred Williams, who not only stayed with the family as news of Kenny's death sank in, but drove Kenny's parents to the Roundhouse at 8th and Race to speak with detectives.  They waited, then drove them back.

They arranged for officers to do the same thing again the next day.

"They could have been in and out of the house, told us that Kenny was dead, and left," says Catherine, whom Ofc. Williams contacted that night, to ask that she hurry over to Kenny's house, to be with Kenny's mother, who was distraught.  "They stayed with us a very long time. They asked us if we needed a glass of water. They were so gentle and kind. It was like they had all the time in the world for us.

"It was above and beyond," says Catherine.   "They kept asking if there was anyone else we should call. It really touched us. It helped. You don't think, at a time like that, that anything can help. But it did."

The professional and compassionate behavior of Bugieda and Williams does not surprise their captain in the 15th District, Frank Bachmayer.

"They're excellent officers," says Bachmayer. "Mark has been in the department 27 years and has been very involved in the community. Alfred is newer to the district and is just a great police officer.  It's in their personalities to be that way."

Nonetheless, Catherine didn't want the moment to pass without thanking the men for making her family feel cared for at a time of such shock and sorrow.

"You hear bad stories about police officers, and I want people to hear a good story," she says. "We can't thank them enough."