BALTIMORE — The steady drizzle on a dreary Monday in Sharp Leandenhall can only do so much to wash away the blood stains on the sidewalk; it does nothing to clean up the memory of Brandon Radford, who says he held his friend as he took his last breath early Saturday morning.
"So, I am praying that he takes another breath until the ambulance comes and then, right as the ambulance pulled up, his eyes were going in the back of his head, and he was gone," said Radford.
Police say his name was Derle Brooks, people called him Whezz, as did Amanda, who tied up fresh balloons just atop older, weathered and deflated ones.
This newer makeshift memorial, though, was for her cousin – two lives, one pole.
"Common. It's not uncommon, it's common,” Amanda said, “just the same way you are going to get lunch is the same way you going to buy balloons to put up for a senseless killing that shouldn’t have been done, something that shouldn’t have been done, and it's sad."
Worse is that police will be hamstrung on this one.
Friends say Brooks was killed right below a new security camera.
The management of the apartments says they were just installed in April, but they were also just sabotaged, the power box pulled from the pole and lines cut.
There will be no clues from the camera, not in Brooks' murder, or the shooting of a second man on Peach Street, both adding to a particularly grim 2019 with murders up 12 percent and shootings surging past last year at 20 percent.
"In order for a real crime plan to work, it is not just about the police department," said State Senator Bill Ferguson.
The Baltimore City senator is eager to see how Baltimore plans to get it all under control.
$14 million is the carrot he says, funds held back by the state until or when the Mayor's Office, State's Attorney’s Office and the Baltimore Police Department present a crime reduction strategy with “measurable results.”
According to the bill passed in Annapolis earlier this year, it is to be presented to the governor by August 1, and, if approved, will unlock millions.
"I think one of the biggest challenges is everyone is saying where are we going, what are we doing,” Ferguson said. “We've been putting resources in all these different places. We need to know what to expect, and then hold people accountable to meeting those objectives. That is what this needs to be."
It's a community in need of less balloons, less blood-stained sidewalks, less RIP's written on a curb.
"Whezz was just another one who didn't deserve it, didn't deserve it," his cousin Amanda said. "It was sad. It's sad, it's hurtful and it's heartbreaking."