7-year-old shooting victim remains in critical condition, police seeking more information

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Taylor Hayes. Photo via the Baltimore Police Department.

Taylor Hayes, a 7-year-old girl who was shot yesterday afternoon in Allendale, remains in critical condition as police seek more information leading to the arrest of the shooter.

“At this point, Taylor continues to fight for her life,” Acting Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle said at a press conference this afternoon.

On Facebook, City Councilman Kristerfer Burnett, whose district includes Allendale, today wrote that Hayes is undergoing her third surgery at Shock Trauma.

“Keep her and her family in prayer!” he said, offering contact information for anyone with details about the shooting.

“Yesterday evening,” he wrote, “I joined a canvass of the area to help share some words of peace, and to let the community know we support, care, and mourn with them during this difficult time.”

Tuggle said he and Mayor Catherine Pugh visited with Hayes and her family this morning.

At the press conference, police revealed new details about the case, saying the shooting first occurred in the 500 block of Lyndhurst Street about 2:30 p.m. Thursday. A bullet traveled through the trunk of the Honda Accord that Hayes was sitting in and struck her in the back, said Tuggle. Another girl sitting in the car was not injured.

The driver of the car, 33-year-old Darnell Holmes, then drove several blocks to the intersection of Edmonson and N. Loudon avenues. A man knocked on the window of a nearby Baltimore police officer’s car, and the officer sprinted over to “begin life-saving efforts,” Tuggle said. The officer then flagged down a private ambulance that transported Hayes to Shock Trauma.

A search of the Accord turned up a 40-caliber handgun with an extended magazine and suspected drugs. Holmes has been charged with possession of a handgun and “narcotics offenses,” police said in a press release. She is not being cooperative with the investigation, Tuggle said.

“We do not know if she was the target,” said Tuggle. “We do not know if she was the person that actually fired the gun.”

Police said Holmes is not related to Hayes but is related to the other girl who was in the car. Hayes and the other girl had been to an amusement park together in the last several days, but it’s not clear where they were headed at the time of the shooting.

Investigators found spent casings from at least two different guns at the scene on Lyndhurst. But the motive for the shooting and some of the details surrounding the incident remain elusive.

Police believe this was a targeted shooting, and are seeking information about a different car, a white two- or four-door with possible paint transfer, as a vehicle of interest. Noting the car Holmes was driving has dark-tinted windows, Tuggle said it’s possible the shooters targeted the vehicle without being able to see who was inside.

CitiWatch cameras and private security footage are under review, and Tuggle pleaded for anyone who may have seen something to come forward.

“Just take the time to think about Taylor, and prior to this happening, she was just a normal 7-year-old kid who likes to dance and loves music,” he said. “Now she’s fighting for her life. It’s truly a tragedy.”

A vigil for Hayes is planned Sunday from 4-8 p.m. at the intersection where police first began tending to her yesterday.

Brandon Weigel

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