Statement of Rev. David Tatgenhorst

Pastor St. Luke United Methodist Church, Bryn Mawr


My name is Rev. David Tatgenhorst. I have made my home in West Philadelphia for the last 32 years. I have served churches in South Philadelphia, West Philadelphia, and Bryn Mawr. My 13 year old son graduates after 8 years at a Philadelphia public school next month.

On one of the coldest days of this year, January 16th I went down to Colosimo's Gun Center to protest their sales of handguns to straw purchasers. The killing of children, of police officers, and of other citizens of our region weighs on my heart, so I cheered when my friends began to hold Jim Colosimo accountable for straw purchases by sitting in front of the door to his gun shop.

After they got arrested, many people left to get out of the cold. There were no cameras or press people left to record what we were doing - to let people know about our actions. I did not want to sit down on that freezing cold concrete myself in front of police who were also cold and grumpy. I thought that it might be better to save my witness for another day when it might get more notice or have more effect.

But then I thought about Dee Smith of North Philadelphia, whose life was shattered when her son Marcus was shot. Marcus had received a full scholarship to Harvard. I thought about Chuck Cassidy, a police officer, shot in the head in a Dunkin Donuts in November of 2007, leaving behind a wife and three children. I thought about 15 year old Kasey Chambers, an aspiring sports writer and basketball player from Southwest Philadelphia, accidently shot and killed by his cousin in November of 2008 just before his birthday. I thought about the NRA and how their well-funded operation keeps even the sanest and simplest gun violence prevention laws from passing.

I thought about how Mr. Colosimo misrepresents himself to people in front of that store as taking every safety precaution he can, saying he doesn't sell to straw buyers when all the evidence shows that he does.

Then I thought about my 13 year old son and what kind of world I want him to grow up in.

I looked at that cold concrete in front of that gun store ... and I sat down.


NOTE: Rev. David Tatgenhorst testimony was not presented at trial because the charges against him were dropped because of failure of the Prosecution to properly identify him as one of the arrestees.