The vigil was Shortie's idea.
The 4-foot, 7-inch teenager, born Kristen Mullin, was the one who'd twirled crepe paper through the stairway outside the Northeast Philadelphia rowhouse where Jarred Bullock was shot and killed May 6.
The one who'd gotten candles, and a poster board for his friends to sign. And who was trying to pull this event together in the darkening, chilly night.
Jarred had lived on the 1300 block of Passmore Street for less than a year, and even though nobody here - including Shortie - could come up with his last name, they knew they liked him. The adults used words like quiet, gentle and respectful and admired the way the ninth grader helped his single working mother without complaint. Shortie, 17, could say only: "He was just different; he was a cool person to be around."
Shortie had just finished berating one teenager for laughing during the May 8 vigil when a posse of concerned adults led by Jarred's uncle, Rodney Bullock, arrived to address the kids.
Bullock said that the shooting had been a tragic accident - that Jarred's best friend had gotten one of his uncle's guns and that the two boys were playing with it when it fired. He thanked the kids and asked them to help stop the violence.
"Life is precious," he said, as the kids got quiet and wept. "They say people kill people, but guns kill people... . This could just as easily be me or you." He urged them to learn from this, to stay away from guns, to put their faith and trust in God.
Later, Shortie said she found Bullock's speech "overwhelming."
"He just kept going on and on. The stuff he was saying was, like, too much to hear," she said. "It was depressing."
Contact staff photographer April Saul at 215-854-2872 or firstname.lastname@example.org.