The school community at Renaissance Academy in Baltimore has witnessed three deaths in three months, and none of the victims got to see their 18th birthday.
Students at the Baltimore high school must come to terms with classmates dying. Parents, like Tonette McFadden, who is also the program coordinator at Penn-North Safe Zone, a community organization offering counseling and mentoring, said students are left feeling resigned to hopelessness.
McFadden said she learned of the latest victim, identified as Daniel Jackson, 17, through her 17-year-old son, who is a student at a different school.
"He came home from school and the first thing he said was 'Mom, another kid got killed,'" she said.
Balloons and stuffed animals sit outside the Renaissance Academy commemorating the three students from the school killed.
The latest came Monday morning when police say Jackson was gunned down two miles from the school months after he stopped attending classes.
"I looked at my son and realized that him hearing about kids his age dying makes him feel hopeless," McFadden said.
Jackson's killing followed a brutal Nov. attack that left 17-year-old Ananias Jolley clinging to life after being stabbed inside a classroom by another student. He later died in Dec. Police arrested Donte Crawford, 17, charging him with first-degree murder.
In January, 16-year-old Darius Bardney was killed in what police say was an accidental shooting.
"Our doors open immediately after school and we get kids in tears," said Ericka Alston, director of the Penn-North Safe Zone. "We get the kids that come in wearing the 'rest in peace' t-shirts."
The center sees about 60 kids each day, and about 20 of them are the same age as each of the three Renaissance students when they were killed, Alston said.
For the handful of Renaissance Academy students who drop by the Safe Zone, Alston said the services they offer go a long way.
"We keep them busy," she said. "Outside of keeping them busy, it is our responsibility to make them see and feel their worth and value."
Police have no suspect or motive in Jackson's killing and are asking anyone with information to call homicide detectives at 410-396-2100.
If you wish to stay anonymous, you can call Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7LOCKUP.