Condition of 7-year-old gunshot victim improves slightly, police continue search for white Mercedes

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Taylor Hayes. Photo via the Baltimore Police Department.

The condition of Taylor Hayes, a 7-year-old girl shot last week in Allendale, has improved slightly, Acting Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle said at a news conference today after talking with the girl’s doctor throughout the weekend.

Both Tuggle and police spokesman T.J. Smith stressed that Hayes still has a long way to go in her recovery.

“She’s not by any means out of the woods or about to walk out of the hospital,” said Smith.

Police are still searching for the driver of a white Mercedes-Benz, and Tuggle used the press conference to call on the driver to turn himself in.

“Look, we’re not going anywhere,” he said. “We’re going to be dogmatic in our approach to this investigation.”

Video of the car can be seen here:

While CitiWatch cameras did not capture the shooting, they did spot the Mercedes leaving the area. The cameras did not get a clear shot of the license plate, however, and Tuggle said the department would work with “federal partners” to enhance the footage. Investigators believe the driver is “probably” one of the shooters, he said.

“We are trying to determine whether or not there is a second shooter, as well, that we don’t know about,” he said.

A gun was found in the car Hayes was sitting in, and some of the shell casings from the scene match the caliber of that weapon. Asked if that gun had been fired at the scene, Tuggle answered in the affirmative.

The driver of the car, 33-year-old Darnell Holmes, has been charged with possession of the firearm and of suspected drugs in the car, but not with the shooting. She has not cooperated with the investigation.

Police are looking for Holmes’ boyfriend, but Tuggle said it’s not clear if he was in the car at the time of the shooting. Smith stressed he is not a suspect in the shooting of Hayes.

Hayes and Holmes are not related, Tuggle said, but the woman is a friend of Hayes’ mom. Holmes’ child was also sitting in the car during the shooting and was not injured.

Brandon Weigel

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