Hall of Fame forward and current TNT NBA analyst Charles Barkley has offered to pay the funeral costs of three children who were killed in a Philadelphia carjacking accident last week.
Fifteen-year-old Keiearra Williams, 10-year-old Thomas Reed and 7-year-old Terrence Moore were killed when a stolen SUV driven by two men crashed into a fruit stand the three were running with their mother for the local church, per CBS Philly.
The children were pronounced dead on the scene while their mother, 34-year-old Keisha Williams, was listed in critical condition. Two other people were hurt in the crash. Philadelphia district attorney Seth Williams said Barkley, who played eight seasons with the 76ers, reached out when he heard of the tragedy.
"Like most Philadelphians, many Americans, and people across the world that heard about this and were moved, [Barkley] wanted me to know that he wanted to pay for the funeral for these three children, and I put him in touch with the family so he can do that," Williams told Brian X. McCrone of Philly.com.
Barkley confirmed to Sarah Glover of NBC Philadelphia that he has offered to cover the costs. He declined further comment, citing his desire for the focus to remain on the victims.
Cornelius Crawford, 23, and Johnathan Rosa, 19, were charged with second-degree murder, kidnapping and robbery in the case. Crawford and Rosa were denied bail at a preliminary hearing on Monday, per Doug Stanglin of USA Today.
"This is one of the saddest and most tragic incidents that [investigators] ran across," Philadelphia Police Capt. James Clark said Monday, via Stranglin. "As a result of that, everyone worked very hard for the last three days—night in and night out. No one wanted to go home, to make sure that we brought these individuals to justice, and we did that."
Police allege that Crawford and Rosa abducted and then sexually assaulted the owner of the vehicle. After speeding away from the scene, a tire blew in the vehicle, sending it careering into the three children and their mother. Local citizens have taken to the street since the accident, performing candlelight vigils and leaving items in the area as a memorial.
Rosa turned himself into police and has admitted his involvement in the crime at the prompting of his mother.
"I just left him. He is in shambles, and he literally cannot erase the image of that poor child coming over the hood of the car," Rosa's attorney, Christopher Warren, told ABC6. "It haunts him like you wouldn't believe."
Barkley, 51, was the Sixers' first-round pick in the 1984 NBA draft and emerged as a superstar in the city. He averaged a double-double of at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in seven of eight seasons, earned his first six of 11 consecutive All-Star berths and helped lead the team to a conference finals berth in his rookie season. Barkley split the final eight seasons of his career with the Houston Rockets and Phoenix Suns.
The Sixers retired his jersey in 2001. Only eight players in team history, dating back to 1947-48 in Syracuse, have had their number hung in the rafters.
Since retiring from basketball in 2000, Barkley has served as an NBA analyst for TNT.
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