Sykea Patton, 24, devoted her life to the two young sons, who now must go on without their mother

Sykea Patton
Sykea Patton
| Credit: Facebook

A Philadelphia man is charged with murder after allegedly shooting his ex-girlfriend in front of her 5-year-old twin sons, say police.

On Friday at about 3:11 p.m., Sykea Patton, 24, was walking her children home from school in West Philadelphia when shots rang out, the Philadelphia Police Department said in a statement.

As Patton's children looked on, their mother was shot in the left chest, left arm, and lower back, say police, Fox 29 and NBC10 report.

She was rushed to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center and was pronounced dead at 3:44 p.m.

On Monday, her ex-boyfriend, Donavan Crawford, 28, was arrested. He faces a slew of charges including murder, recklessly endangering another person and weapons charges, the department said in the release.

Donavan Crawford
Donavan Crawford
| Credit: Philadelphia DA

Crawford remains held without bail at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility (CFCF), according to online records. He is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 14.

It is unclear whether he has retained an attorney who can speak on his behalf.

Patton was in the process of getting a stay-away order to keep Crawford away from her before her death, authorities said, NBC 10 reports.

At a packed vigil for Patton on Saturday, well-wishers turned out to honor her memory, sending dozens of purple and white balloons into the sky, as they mourned her loss and celebrated her life.

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"I'm suffering today," her father, Joseph Patton, told NBC10 at the vigil. "I lost my daughter because of senseless gun violence. She didn't deserve what happened to her. No woman deserves that."  

Patton's children "loved her," her grandmother, Verna Brown told NBC10 Philadelphia. "She was fun. She didn't deserve that."

Joseph cried for his daughter — and for all the victims of gun violence.

"We can't live like this," he told NBC10. "We have to do better.

"Something has to change."

If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.