Police renew call for suspects, witnesses to come forward in shooting death of 7-year-old Taylor Hayes

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Taylor Hayes. Photo via the Baltimore Police Department.

A day after 7-year-old Taylor Hayes died from a gunshot wound sustained two weeks ago, police again asked for anyone with information about her murder to come forward.

“We know that a number of people saw that shooting. We know that for a fact,” Acting Commissioner Gary Tuggle said. “And we want you to come forward. There’s a child who’s no longer with us. Have some level of sympathy, with respect to that.”

Investigators did locate a white Mercedes-Benz seen in CitiWatch footage leaving the area after the shooting. Days later, police released the images to the public and asked for details about the vehicle, but today Tuggle and chief spokesman T.J. Smith did not elaborate on how locating the car advanced the case. No charges have been filed related to the killing of Hayes.

“We can’t prosecute a case in public,” Smith said in response to a question about the car from WBAL-TV’s Jayne Miller. “There are things that we have to do to protect the integrity of the investigation.”

When Miller pressed for details about whether the driver was implicated, Smith declined to offer more.

“We’re not going to get into any specifics as to that,” he said.

Smith also declined to say if Darnell Holmes, the driver of the car Hayes was sitting in when a bullet went through the trunk and struck her in the back, was now cooperating with investigators, even after police had previously said she was not talking.

“We’re not going to get into any specifics as to what any witnesses are telling us at this point,” he said. “But again, we unfortunately haven’t gotten to a point that we can charge somebody with the murder of Taylor.”

Holmes is being held on charges related to a .40 caliber handgun and suspected drugs found in the car. As Miller first reported earlier today, police filed gun charges against a 20-year-old man who was allegedly in the car with Holmes at the time Hayes was shot.

Beyond confirming those charges, Smith said police would not be able to discuss certain details of their investigation until the case makes its way to open court.

He reiterated that police know “multiple people” were on the 500 block of Lyndhurst Street on July 5 about 2:30 p.m. when the shooting occurred.

“We know that people saw it,” he said. “We need those people to come forward to help and assist us with this case and put themselves in the position of Taylor’s mom.”

When asked about the fear of retaliation possible witnesses might have, Tuggle said he thought someone who saw the shooting of a 7-year-old girl “would have a level of compassion” to come forward.

In renewing the plea for cooperation, Tuggle offered to use resources at the local, state and federal levels to offer protection.

Brandon Weigel

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