By Rose Quinn
Published in the Delaware County Daily Times on April 11, 2022
His birth name is Sinsir Parker, but his family called him Doo Man.
At 7 years old, Sinsir “Doo Man” Parker had four best friends: his brothers, Randolph, 8, and Yahzir, 10; and his sisters, Yahzionna, 12, and Azoria, 6.
“They all would say that Doo Man was their favorite, too,” their mother, Courtney Parker, said. “Doo Man was everybody’s favorite … He was the one who always got the party started.”
The five siblings, according to their mother, did most everything together, and frequently with her. She referred to them as “myfav5” on her social media posts.
Tragically, their special family bond was forever broken April 5, 2020, when one of 14 bullets fired by an elusive gunman into a crowd of people outside on Swarts Street in the Highland Gardens section of Chester, struck Doo Man in the face, killing him instantly.
While no one has been charged in the killing of Sinsir “Doo Man” Parker, suspects have been developed in the case, Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division Chief James E. Nolan IV said last week.
“We hope to close in on an arrest,” Nolan said.
“The Highland Gardens section is a densely populated area and Sinsir Parker was an innocent child who was playing before he was struck by senseless gunfire,” said Commissioner Steven Gretsky of the City of Chester Police Department.
“It was an intentional act, but obviously they were not aiming at Sinsir Parker. The intention was to hurt someone in the crowd. Sinsir was the only person struck,” said Detective Daniel McFarland of the Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division (CID), who is leading the ongoing homicide investigation with Chester City Detective Ryan Stewart.
“Sometimes, I still can’t believe it even happened,” Doo Man’s mother said last Tuesday, the second anniversary of her sweet boy’s murder.
But those moments fade fast, and the reality of her world without Doo Man in it returns, crushing Courtney Parker all over again. “I just want him home,” Courtney said, sobbing quietly into her phone. “I just want him back home.”
About Sinsir Parker
- Sinsir Parker, 7, of Second Street in Chester, was outside in the 2600 block of Swarts Street in the Highland Gardens section of Chester, shortly before 9:19 p.m. April 5, 2020, when a shooter fired 14 shots directly into a crowd of children and adults, striking only Parker, killing him instantly.
- The homicide investigation is ongoing by Detective Daniel McFarland of the Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division (CID) and Detective Ryan Stewart of the City of Chester Police Department.
- There is a combined reward of $25,000 for information leading to the arrest of the individual(s) responsible for the death of Sinsir Parker.
- Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective McFarland at 610-891-4716; Detective Stewart at 610-447-8429; 911; or the Citizens Crime Commission at 215-546 TIPS (8477) or 866-865-TIPS (8477).
A family gathering
Courtney Parker, 29, awoke Tuesday morning feeling down.
“I still feel down,” she said later in the day, as she prepared a special dinner for family, in memory of Doo Man, and all they lost. Her menu included some of Doo Man’s favorites like baked and fried chicken, ribs, macaroni and cheese, and banana pudding.
It was her day off from the Wallingford Nursing Home, where she works as a certified nursing assistant. Pausing, she noted that Doo Man would be happy that his mother was helping senior citizens.
Along with food, there were balloons on Tuesday’s shopping list. Red and blue ones, and one with Doo Man’s name on it.
“Red was his favorite color,” his mother said.
Courtney was planning to privately release a bouquet of balloons at Friends Cemetery in Upper Darby, where her son was buried following a Muslim funeral service.
A bundle of joy
When her third child was born on Feb. 8, 2013, at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Courtney said the name Sinsir just popped into her mind. But it was not long after when she started calling her newborn Doo Man, “and the nickname just stuck,” she said.
Janice Parker, Courtney’s mother, was in the delivery room when Doo Man was born.
“I was the third person to hold him,” behind his mother and father, she said. Photographs she took that day, and countless others throughout her grandson’s life, are all especially precious now.
In almost every photograph, Janice said, Doo Man is smiling.
“Growing up, he was such a clown,” Janice said. “Every time he came around, you were bound to laugh … He liked to make people laugh.”
The one thing Doo Man did that always made his grandmother laugh was his “little butt wiggle.
“He would giggle when he did it,’ Janice said.
Doo Man attended the Chester Community Charter School East since kindergarten and was in the second grade when he died.
“He liked going to school,” his mother said.
“Whenever I see his favorite teacher, I still give her a hug,” Courtney said.
Doo Man liked playing football, but according to his mother, basketball was his sport.
“He was like every little boy. He was always running around, playing ball,” his mother said. “He was always active.”
He especially enjoyed riding his scooter.
Doo Man was a fan of Spider-Man, the Lion King and when he was younger, the Paw Patrol. And he loved his mother’s homemade chicken Alfredo, a favorite among all the siblings.
Doo Man’s siblings frequently talk about him, though the initial intensity of his absence has softened.
“I ask them do they miss Doo Man, and they say yes,” Courtney said. “They will tell me we have to go see him at the grave site, that we need to go.”
Among the siblings, Doo Man and Randolph, whose nickname is Shinkey, were particularly close.
“When you saw Doo Man, you saw Shinkey right behind him. That’s just how it was,” Janice Parker said.
Shinkey was with his brother and their mother that fateful night.
The plan on April 5, 2020, was for Doo Man and Shinkey to visit with their father, Randolph Ingram, according to Courtney Parker.
Courtney, who was living on Second Street in Chester at the time, said she agreed to meet Ingram on Swarts Street in the Highland Gardens neighborhood, where Ingram’s grandmother resided.
“We were going to meet outside,” she said.
It was a seasonally comfortable Sunday, early into COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. All along Swarts Street, people old and young were outside. Some in their yards, others in the street.
No sooner did they pull onto Swarts Street that Doo Man announced to his mother, “I have to pee,” Courtney said. Doo Man was already out of their truck when he then asked his mother – who was still in the truck with Shinkey – if he could play ball with the other children on the block. Courtney, anxious because the boys’ father had yet to arrive, was reluctant but gave in.
“Only for a little bit,” Courtney told him, recalling what may have been her last words to her son.
“I let him go to play ball … and that was it,” she said.
Doo Man was wearing jeans, a dark zip-up hoodie with a T-shirt underneath, and Spider-Man slide sandals over socks on his feet.
It was about 9:19 p.m. when Chester police patrol units received a call for a shooting that had just occurred in the 2600 block of Swarts Street in Highland Gardens.
Officers arrived to find a juvenile, later identified as Sinsir Parker, lying in the middle of the street, deceased from a gunshot wound to his face, authorities said.
McFarland was among the many law enforcement officers at the scene.
“It was nothing less than horrific,” said McFarland, who like many officers who responded that night, is a parent.
“What I remember most are the Spider-Man slides,” McFarland said of the young victim. “It’s images like that that make me not give up on this case, not for one day in two years.”
According to McFarland, bystanders reported seeing a vehicle fleeing the scene at a high rate of speed, just after multiple shots were fired from nearby Culhane Street.
“It appeared that someone known from that neighborhood was targeted in this attack, and the actors preyed upon this exact street due to the large number of people hanging out,” McFarland said. “The actor(s) pulled to the end of the street and fired multiple shots into the crowd.”
According to reports, McFarland said, Sinsir Parker began to run, got scared and turned around to run toward his mother’s direction when he was shot.
A total of 14 9mm projectiles were recovered at the scene of the shooting, police Commissioner Gretsky said.
“I remember being angry and wanting more than anything to find out who was responsible,” McFarland said. “This was not an accident but an intentional shooting … Why anyone would feel a need to fire multiple rounds into a crowd because you have a beef is beyond senseless.”
To this day, McFarland keeps a reward poster, with a photograph of Sinsir Parker smiling wide, on the wall behind his desk.
“I look at him every day,” he said.
The Citizens Crime Commission is administering a reward of up to $15,000 posted through the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Marshal Service for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the death of Sinsir Parker. An additional $10,000 has been pledged through the City of Chester, a city official confirmed Sunday.
“Homicide is always sad to begin with, but when it involves children, it is compounded,” Nolan said. “As a parent, it used to bother me. Now as a grandparent my despair has tripled.”
Nolan said the lack of help from the community in this investigation has been disappointing. Not one tip was received, despite the reward and repeated appeals through the media.
“But even without it, the detectives are rigorously looking to bring this to a conclusion,” he said.
“We cannot be the eyes and the ears, which is why we need the community,” McFarland said. “Two years later, it is almost impossible to comprehend that no one had any information about who the perpetrators are.”
Gretsky lauded the joint efforts of law enforcement in this investigation, including Detective Victor Heness who led the investigation for the city prior to his 2021 retirement.
“I just hope that anyone who witnessed the crime, or was in the area that evening, comes forward and speaks to detectives,” Gretsky said. “The Parker family deserves peace of mind, and closure for Sinsir.”
‘It takes your heart’
Janice Parker was at home in Marcus Hook preparing for bed when she heard her phone. It was one of her nephews calling.
“Aunt Janice, Doo Man got shot,” she recalled him saying.
She did not respond with words.
“I just threw my phone,” she said.
After taking a few minutes to calm herself down, Janice said she got dressed and drove to Highland Gardens, where she previously resided on Honan Street.
“I saw the cop cars and the ambulance truck,” she said. “People were running up to me and hugging me.”
Overcome by what she was seeing, Janice Parker said she started to scream hysterically, cursing at those who did this to her grandson.
Courtney, according to her mother, was in denial that the body in a tent erected by investigators was Doo Man.
“It takes your heart, and then it holds your heart,” said Janice, a mother of 10 who nearly lost a son to gun violence years go.
Janice said she did not eat or sleep for days after Doo Man’s death.
“I never want to experience that feeling again,” she said. “That feeling is something no family should ever have to go through.”
‘I miss his presence’
Thomas Alexander, whom Courtney described as her “god dad” and said has shown great support to her family, treated Doo Man like a grandson.
“He was always wanting to go with me, and I would take him … if I was on my job cutting grass, painting, or whatever. He would tag along with me, pick up some trash and make a little money for himself,” he said.
“He was a sweet little boy.”
Muhammad Melek of Philadelphia misses the phone calls from his grandson. They talked a couple times a week, mostly about school.
“He loved school and I wanted to make sure he was doing well,” he said.
Given the time that has passed since his grandson’s murder, Muhammad suspects that if those with information cared at all, they would have come forward by now.
“It’s very frustrating,” he said.
Janice Parker said she can never forget what happened to her grandson.
“In due time, these people will have to answer for what they did,” she said. “Doo Man was so special … I cry. I’m entitled to cry. I’m the grandmother.”
Doo Man’s oldest sibling, Yahzionna, or Yazi for short, posted a message on social media saying she missed her brother, and that her family did not deserve this “mess.”
Courtney Parker wants justice for her child.
He should be growing up with his siblings. Learning. Having fun.
Both his 8th and 9th birthdays should have been cause for celebration, not a visit to his grave.
“I miss everything about Doo Man,” his mother said. “I miss his presence the most.”
Since Doo Man’s death, Courtney adopted a dog, a Yorkie she named Doo for one and only reason.
“I still get to say my son’s name every day,” she said.