I return from a short vacation to deal with yet another shooting of another innocent child -- a 5-year-old hit by a stray bullet in Southwest Baltimore, apparently during an argument between two teens who should've been behind bars in the first place.
First, as I pointed out last year, it seems that every child shooting comes with its own image -- the sister of 10-year-old boy killed in 1993 holding the cap he had been wearing, fingering the bullet holes on each side; two grapefruits left on rowhouse steps, which had been carried by a boy to an elderly neighbor when a bullet cut him down last year. Now, we have this haunting picture of Raven Wyatt's sandals left behind on the street after the attack.
The suspect, a 17-year-old, had been on home detention as a juvenile offender and apparently cut off his electronic home monitoring ankle bracelet to get back onto the street. We also learn that the intended target of the shooting also was in juvenile court to face charges, but a judge evicted reporters from the courtroom.
State juvenile officials say they were searching for the 17-year-old within 15 minutes of him cutting off his monitoring device, but that was plenty of time for a little girl to get shot. The status of the suspect and his intended victim will eventually come out, but too much remains shrouded in secrecy -- their backgrounds, why and how they remain on the street despite lengthy criminal records, and their complete criminal history. We are rightfully upset they were out, but we don't know the full circumstances, and the criminal justice system will argue that we shouldn't to protect their privacy.
This shooting occurred in the area covered by the Southwest Police District where I spent time with an officer during a community ride-along. We went out with a member of the neighborhood association who does community walks and watched officer speed from call to call and make several arrests.