BALTIMORE — "It knocked the wind out of me. I have to honestly say it really did," said Baltimore Ceasefire co-founder Erricka Bridgeford.
After over 4 months of investigating, Safe Streets Baltimore leader Dante Barksdale’s suspected killer was arrested, bringing mixed emotions of relief and pain for his family, friends and colleagues.
"You know that feeling when you have a scrape on your leg, and it's just starting to get that light film of new skin on it, and then you fall again and the skin gets ripped off? That’s the feeling," said Shantay Jackson, director of the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement.
Known lovingly as Tater, he turned his life around from one of crime to passionate leadership with Safe Streets Baltimore to eradicate the harsh legacy of violence in the city. On January 17, he was shot in the head outside the Douglass Homes housing project.
"This brother became a victim of the very gun violence that he was determined to prevent and he did prevent thousands of times," said Mayor Brandon Scott. "He was persistently in our toughest communities to engage young people to impart healthy approaches to solving conflict, that’s what he did each and every day of his life
The alleged suspect is repeat offender 27-year-old Garrick Powell. He was arrested Thursday on N. Ellwood Avenue by the Baltimore Police Department's Warrant Apprehension Task Force.
Investigators are still looking into a motive but police homicide commander Major Steve Hohman said the incident, "does not appear to be a random act."
Powell was not a participant in any Safe Streets programs, according to officials.
Police said he does have a lengthy criminal record including a 2012 homicide charge.
"He's no stranger to the BPD," said Hohman.
At the time of his arrest, Powell was on home monitoring for an unrelated drug and gun possession case from February in Anne Arundel County.
Scott said this case underscores the need for better coordination with area jurisdictions to keep repeat offenders off the streets.
"We cannot consistently have folks who clearly should not have been out on the streets out on the streets anywhere, whether it’s an arrest in Baltimore City, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, we have to make sure that the systems are talking so that families aren’t going through this," said Scott.