Young man killed on his first pay day

Young man killed on his first pay day

A man killed Friday night had just gotten his first real paycheck, friends said, and was planning on giving some of the money to his grandmother who had raised him since he was a boy.

Darius Epps, 23, was found dead Friday night of a gunshot wound to the chest at 53rd and Pentridge. Police have not made an arrest in the case.

“His grandmother was his focus,” said Marquine Gainey, 22, Epps’ friend who he met while serving in PowerCorpsPHL, an AmeriCorps program that focuses on environmental stewardship in Philadelphia.

That service led to ajob at the Philadelphia Water Department, where Eppsworked as a seasonal maintenance worker.

“He was going to give a portion of his check to his grandmom,” saidPat Edouard, 33, a supervisor at PowerCorpsPHL. “He just wanted to show her his gratitude.”

Epps was raised by his grandmother since he was eight years old, Edouard said, and he admired her for all she had done for him.

PowerCorpsPHL is designed to help Philadelphia youths who have hit stumbling blocks in their paths to a good job. Some have had legal problems while others might have grown up in foster care or experienced homelessness.

Epps was one of its stars. Friends remembered him as a peacemaker within the group.

When a delegation from Camden came to explore setting up the program there, he was one of the people they met.

“He was an awesome young man who was on the path to doing the right thing,” said Toni Lemons, programdirector of PowerCorpsPHL.

For Gainey, he was just a friend.

“I just miss him,” Gainey said. “He didn’t deserve that.”