Arrests made in shooting death of 7-year-old Taylor Hayes

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Taylor Hayes. Photo via the Baltimore Police Department.

Baltimore police made two arrests in the shooting death of Taylor Hayes, the 7-year-old girl who was struck by a bullet while sitting in the backseat of a car last month, authorities announced today.

Keon Gray, 29, was charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, first-degree assault, reckless endangerment and five gun charges. Daneka McDonald, 34, who authorities believe is Gray’s girlfriend, faces eight charges, including counts of accessory after the fact, obstruction of justice and altering physical evidence.

The driver of the car in which Hayes was sitting, 33-year-old Darnell Holmes, was charged with possession of a firearm and of suspected drugs in July, as was her boyfriend, 20-year-old Malik Edison, though neither were charged with the shooting.

Acting Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle said Gray, who lives in Beechfield, according to court records, was apprehended today in Anne Arundel County.

Tuggle was joined at the podium by Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow and members of Hayes’ family.

In the aftermath of the July 5 shooting, police have been steadfast in offering updates and soliciting the public for information.

“This has been a longtime coming,” Tuggle said of the arrests.

“We received a number of tips, and it was great investigative work, by not just the Baltimore City Police Department–by surrounding jurisdictions, an incredible effort by this department and the State’s Attorney’s Office and just really solid police work.”

A number of officers from various agencies within the department, he said, “took this personally.”

In a statement read by Hayes’ aunt, Ebony Ward, the family thanked the officers for their work and the community for tips.

“We gratefully appreciate it from the bottom of our heart, we gratefully appreciate everything, every tip, everything that led to the arrest of the person who did this,” said Ward. “It’s about to be a long road, but we’re gonna get through it.

“It won’t bring Taylor back, but at least we’re about to get some type of justice.”

Hayes’ mother, Shanika Robinson, was originally not scheduled to take any questions. But when a reporter asked Ward if she had a message to the city about all of the violence and killings, Robinson stepped up to the microphone and took a deep breath.

“It’s crazy that I’m here ’cause of this,” she said. “I lost my daughter–they still got their kids, I don’t have my 7-year-old daughter anymore.”

She called for an end to the violence.

“There’s kids getting killed,” she said, her voice starting to tremble. “I’ll never see my child again, ever.”

Robinson shook her head and repeated her plea.

“Community,” she said, “we have to come together.

“It have to stop. I buried my baby.”

Brandon Weigel

Brandon Weigel is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. A graduate of the University of Maryland, he has been published in The Washington Post, The Sun, Baltimore Magazine, Urbanite, The Baltimore Business Journal, b and others. Prior to joining Baltimore Fishbowl, he was an editor at City Paper from 2012 to 2017. He can be reached at [email protected]
Brandon Weigel

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