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Police announce arrest in 7-year-old Taylor Hayes killing

Posted at 1:54 PM, Aug 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-17 23:18:28-04

Baltimore Police charged a 29-year-old Baltimore man with the murder of 7-year-old Taylor Hayes, the department announced Friday afternoon.

Police charged 29-year-old Keon Gray of Southwest Baltimore with the crime. Gray was arrested in Anne Arundel County. His suspected girlfriend was also arrested as an accessory after the fact. He was being transported back to Baltimore while the police made their announcement. A look on Maryland Case Search shows Gray has an extensive prior criminal record.

“This is a long time coming with respect to the arrest of the person, or one of the persons we allege are responsible, for Taylor’s death" said Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle. He praised great investigative work by the Baltimore Police and cooperating jurisdictions. 

“The community rallied around the family,” Tuggle said. “We received a number of tips, and it was great investigative work, but not just the Baltimore City Police Department but surrounding jurisdictions.”

Gray has been charged with first- and second-degree murder, first degree assault, firearm use in the commission of a violent felony, firearm possession with felony conviction, illegal possession of a firearm, reckless endangerment, handgun on person, and discharging a firearm.

“We just want to thank the public and thank all the officers for the outstanding work on the arrest of Taylor’s killer. It take a little relief from Shanika, but at the end of the day she still don’t have her daughter back,” said Ebony Ward, who spoke on behalf of Hayes’ mother, Shanika Robinson. “We gratefully appreciate everything, every tip in the arrest of the person who did this. It’s going to be a long road, but we’ll get through it. It won’t bring Taylor back, but at least we’ll get some type of justice.”

Hayes was shot while sitting in the backseat of a car in Edmondson Village on July 5. She was listed in critical condition following the shooting and succumb to her injuries roughly two weeks later

"When you have a child, seven years old, who’s thinking about playing with dolls and trying to get candy that person should not be subjected to violence," said Tuggle.

The shooting angered a community already grappling with frequent violence

The driver of the car Hayes was riding in was arrested on drugs and weapons charges, but police said she did not fire the fatal shot. 

Hayes' death galvanized a community, who came forth to grieve her death and celebrate her life

With the shooting happening in the middle of the day, police grew frustrated with the lack of information coming from the public. "Someone saw something," Tuggle said at a press conference in July

At the conclusion of the press conference, Robinson took to the podium to reflect on the violence that has plagued the city. Though crime is down in 2018 compared to last year, Baltimore has come off of three-straight years of violence since the riots following Freddie Gray's death. 

“It’s crazy that I’m here because of this," Robinson said. "I lost my daughter. They still got their kids. I don’t have my 7-year-old daughter anymore. I think this should be something big. All the killing, it got to stop. It have to. There’s kids getting killed. I’ll never see my child again, ever. It just have to stop. … Community, we have to come together, we have to stop. I buried my baby.”