Baltimore Police made another emphatic plea for anyone who may know anything about the shooting that killed 7-year-old Taylor Hayes to come forward and aid in the investigation.
“We do know factually that there were people on the street on Lynhdurst Avenue – this is back on July 5 at 2:30 in the afternoon, on Lyndhurst Street in Edmondson Village area – and multiple people were on the street when this incident occurred, and we know that people saw it. We need those people to come forward," said BPD Public Information Officer T.J. Smith at a press conference Friday. “Put themselves in the position of Taylors mom. This is a seven year old girl who was riding around in the backseat of a car with a friend, and a bullet takes her life. … It’s a traumatic experience for everyone who was involved with this, and it should be a traumatic experience for everyone who witnessed this.”
Hayes died Thursday morning after spending more than two weeks in University of Maryland Shock Trauma following being shot in the back while sitting in the backseat of a car. The driver of that car, Darnelle Holmes, has been charged with gun and drug crimes following the discovery of a weapon in her possession. She has not been charged in the shooting.
Police had shared with the public their search for a white car, later determined to be a White Mercedes, they believed was involved in the shooting. Smith confirmed that that car had been found, but would not disclose any information about where it was found, in what state the car was in, or if anyone who owned or was associated with the car had been charged.
“There will be a day that we can discuss a lot more of this publicly and in the court room, but we don’t want to say anything that can hinder our efforts of investigation," Smith said.
Police are familiar with combating Baltimore's notorious culture of "no snitching," where people are very reluctant to engage with police and provide any information that may lead to arrests. Fear of retaliation is a large factor in that reticence.
“I get the issue of fear," acting Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle said. "We’re not taking about something as simple as maybe a burglary or a robbery. We’re talking about the life of a 7-year-old child that has been snuffed out. Now, fear not being put aside, at the end of the day, I would think that somebody who saw that would have a level of compassion that would say I’m willing to take on that level of risk to give that child justice."
"A person that can harm a 7 year old and wake up every day and do what they do is .... an interest person to say the least," Smith said.
Anyone with information to share with police can speak directly with detectives at 410-396-2100, use the anonymous tip line at 443-902-4824, or call Metro Crime stoppers at 1-866-7LOCKUP.
Smith pointed out Hayes was not the youngest homicide death of the year. A three-month-old child was killed earlier this year. Her mother was charged with the murder. Also, a 18-month-old boy's death was recently ruled a homicide, Smith said at the press conference.. Police are currently investigating that crime.
‘At the end of the day, we’ve got a child who’s no longer with us, Tuggle said of Hayes' murder. "She deserves justice. Her family deserves a level of closure to this. The person who shot her needs to be arrested and prosecuted. W’ere not going to leave any stone unturned until that happens.”