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BPD updates public on child's murder investigation

Julius White
(l-r) Interim Baltimore Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle, BPD Media Relations Chief T.J. Smith

Baltimore City police gave an update Friday on what’s now become a murder investigation of a little girl who was shot two weeks ago while in the back seat of a car. 

Credit Facebook
Taylor Hayes

Taylor Hayes died Thursday morning at Shock Trauma, succumbing to her injuries. At a news conference, Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle first urged the public to come forward with any information about the shooting.  “We know that a number of people saw that shooting. We know that for a fact, and we want you to come forward,” said Tuggle. “There’s a child who’s no longer with us. Have some level of sympathy with respect to that. That child needs justice, her family needs justice and we want you to come forward.”

When asked about people not coming forward with information to help police find the gunman out of fear of retaliation, Tuggle said he gets the issue of fear. “However, we’re not talking something as simple as a burglary or robbery. We’re talking about the life of a 7-year old child that’s been snuffed out,” said Tuggle. “Now---fear not being put aside, at the end of the day, I would think that somebody that saw that would have a level of compassion; to take on that level of risk, to give that child justice. The person that shot [Taylor] needs to arrested and prosecuted. We're going to leave any stone unturned until that happens.”

BPD Media Relations Chief T. J. Smith confirmed the white four-door Mercedes Benz that was seen in the area of Lyndhurst Street where the shooting happened had been found. Days after the shooting, the BPD released traffic cam video of the vehicle hoping it would spur tips that would lead to the shooter. Smith said it was tips from the public that led them the vehicle and added that they need more tips to come in. Neither Tuggle nor Smith would give any specifics about the investigation, saying there have been no charges filed against anyone in relation to Taylor’s murder.

“Her mother is right now planning [Taylor’s] funeral, when a lot of other parents are at the beach, or at the amusement parks or enjoying the summer with their children,” said Smith. “She’s planning a funeral.”

There was a slow drip of information that progressed during the news conference-- including confirmation that a 20-year old man, who flagged down police officer after the shooting, surrendered to police on gun charges—but not in relation to Taylor’s murder. “That’s accurate, but we don’t want to get into anything more about this,” said Smith. “There will be a day when we can discuss a lot more of this publicly and in the courtroom. But we don’t want to say anything that can hinder our investigation. This stuff is complicated. If it was as easy as it was on television, man, we would be doing really well. But, it’s very complicated.”

So far, only one arrest has been made in the case and that’s 33-year old Darnell Holmes. She was the driver car that Taylor was in when a bullet came in through the trunk and struck her in the back. Holmes and another child in the car were not injured. Because they were found in the vehicle, Holmes was arrested on drug and gun charges. Police say Holmes is not cooperating with investigators. 

A prayer vigil will be held Friday evening for Taylor Hayes at 6 p.m. at the intersection of N. Loudon and Edmondson Avenue. Anyone with information is asked to text @BaltimorePolice homicide detectives 443-902-4824, call 410-396-2100 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7LOCKUP.