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Baltimore communities grapple with continued violence

Posted at 11:22 PM, Jul 22, 2018

People gathered across Baltimore Sunday night. Some continuing to grapple with the shocking death of 7-year-old Taylor Hayes; others coming together to support neighbors grieving the loss of a loved one. All of them calling for a stop to the violence. 

"Any death is horrible, but for a 7-year-old child to die well before her time was traumatizing and I really feel that we as a city, as a community, need to come out and support one another in these horrible times," Baltimore resident Cathryn Munnel said. 

People gathered with Baltimore Ceasefire 365 Sunday evening in South West Baltimore to honor Hayes. 

"We bless every space where someone has been killed to put love and light into that space because we know that people avoid these areas because of the darkness and the pain, and we think lives and our city deserve better than that," ceasefire founder Errica Bridgeford said. 

Bridgeford says sticking together is the only way to stop it. 

"If this does not wake you up, I don’t know what will. When a 7-year-old loses their life to violence like this," Bridgeford said. 

Across the city, neighbors grapple with a similar feeling. 

"I became very angry and then the anger went to sadness and then back to anger again," Ednor Gardens resident Steven Kanaley siad.

A 20-year-old was shot and killed on the 900 block of East 37th St. overnight Saturday. 

"To hear the screams and the gunshots, it was really heartbreaking," neighbor Angelique Kane said.

Kane's husband and Kanaley both called police after hearing the shots overnight. Sunday, the community grieved. Kane says the victim was visiting her neighbor, though no one else on the street knew him. 

"We reached out to them this morning to provide support because at the end of the day, we want to be neighbors and if our neighbor is hurting, we are hurting," Kane said. "I know I’m still in shock. Even going to bed last night, I just keep hearing my neighbors scream and that’s traumatizing, especially because I have small kids."

Sunday night, she invited neighbors over to support one another and hear from police; all looking for a way forward to keep this from happening in their community again. 

"I think the politicians really need to be honest about that and really start addressing the drugs and the guns. That’s whats causing this level of violence," Kanaley said. 

"What can we do as a community so that our children are safe when they are walking to school? Just try to build community so that we can be stronger and better," Kane said. "It would be nice to have more strategic police presence, just foot patrols so we can have an officer friendly."

A few weekends a year, Baltimore Ceasefire asks residents to avoid having any murders. The next one is just 2 weeks away, August 3-5. The effort started one year ago so this ceasefire, there will be an anniversary concert and parade in Park Heights.