Police appeal for tips, help from community after shooting of 5-year-old girl

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Acting Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle and other police officials and community leaders gather at a press conference. Still via Baltimore Police Department/Facebook.

With no leads as of this afternoon, Baltimore police are calling on West Baltimore residents to come forward and help them with the investigation of a shooting of a 5-year-old girl on Monday evening.

The girl, who police said was shot in the groin at around 6:20 p.m. while walking to a corner store, is reportedly the half-sister of Taylor Hayes, the 7-year-old girl who was fatally shot this past summer while sitting in the back seat of a car in Allendale.

Police actively campaigned for information about the identity of Taylor’s shooter, and Tuggle noted the heartbreaking coincidence for the Hayes family.

“It’s certainly a burden,” he said, “it’s a tragedy.”

A neighbor in Sandtown-Winchester last night ran outside and brought the girl to the hospital. Sometime later, police gave an update that the girl was “out of surgery and expected to survive.”

The suspects in the shootout on the 1000 block of McKean Avenue included some in an unidentified vehicle and others on foot, police said.

Acting Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle said at a press conference this afternoon that investigators have no leads, no known motive for the shooting and no video from the scene. It’s a known area for drug trafficking and violent crime, he said.

“We are confident that she was not targeted,” he said.

With another small child wounded in crossfire, Tuggle said the city’s trigger-pullers “just don’t care, they don’t care who they hurt.

“And they have to be removed from the street.”

Police are planning a community walk tonight with reps from other city agencies, grassroots organizations, religious leaders and neighbors, part of an extension of the mayor’s ongoing Violence Reduction Initiative that coordinates police work, cleanup and other city services in neighborhoods and tracks data. The walk will begin at 5:30 p.m. at McKean Avenue and Mosher Street in Sandtown-Winchester, near where the girl was shot.

“It’s not just a show of solidarity in response to this incident,” Maj. Sheree Briscoe, commander of the Western District. “It is also our show for community engagement, how we naturally have to weave ourselves together to fight the battle in crime and to address the health and welfare of our communities.”

Tuggle noted the shooting was part of a “rash of violence” from this past weekend and early this week.

The girl was one of seven people wounded and five killed (one fatally stabbed, four shot) around Baltimore since last Friday.

Echoing his past comments (as well as a talking point of former Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, who Pugh fired in January), Tuggle noted, “we continue to see today’s victim oftentimes become tomorrow’s perpetrator and vice-versa—we see the trigger puller become tomorrow’s victim.”

Many victims have also been shot before, he said. He cited departmental statistics indicating that seven of the city’s 275 homicide victims so far this year had already been wounded in prior non-fatal shootings. The same was true of 97 non-fatal shooting victims so far in 2018. (Baltimore had seen more than 580 non-fatal shooting victims as of Nov. 10, the latest available Comstat data show.)

Tuggle called on the community to step forward with information to help police solve violent crimes and deter future violence.

“The community can really be that force multiplier that we need to not just discourage this type of activity moving forward, but also to encourage folks to come forward to talk about things like this,” he said. “Because if nobody says anything about it, believe me, it’s going to happen again.”

Anyone with tips is asked to contact police at (410) 396-2221, anonymously via Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7LOCKUP or via the Baltimore Police Department app.

Ethan McLeod
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