Amirah Kinlaw, a third grader at Steuart Hill, was killed in a car crash. A 14-year-old has been arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter.
At the end of the school day on June 16, 9-year-old Amirah Kinlaw made her way from Steuart Hill Academic Academy where she attended as 3rd grade student in Southwest Baltimore. The elementary school, located at S. Gilmore Street, was the scene of the fatal crash that injured two and claimed the life of Kinlaw. The crash happened around 2:20 p.m. as a suspect was fleeing from police.
Investigators say the suspect was running from police and ran a red light as the school was dismissing for the day. Police believe the suspect was in a stolen Jeep Liberty.
“We have several witnesses who have confirmed, who told us, that the officers arrived after the accident occurred. We don’t believe a pursuit took place. She never got a chance to chase behind the suspect,” said Detective Donny Moses, Baltimore City Police Department.
The suspect then struck a vehicle and hit Kinlaw of Kuper Place and a crossing guard, and continued driving. Kinlaw later died from her injuries.
“To get that information that it was your baby girl, all the feeling is just rage,” said Leon Carter, Kinlaw’s father.
Detectives say the suspect ran into several parked cars before he ran from the car. “Whoever done this, man, just turn yourself in. It would be better to do that than to be on the run,” Leon Carter said.
The suspect was arrested on Friday but due to him being a minor, 14 years of age, his identity has not been made public. He has been charged as a juvenile with vehicular manslaughter.
With the help of surveillance video, investigators found the teen at his home near the crash site. He suffered minor injuries and was being treated, Smith said.
“It’s something he’s going to live with for the rest of his life,” Baltimore Police Spokesman T. J. Smith said.
“It’s two young people, this kid’s 14. Made a horrible, horrible, horrible mistake. Made a horrible, horrible, horrible decision. It’s two lives of two young people who are forever damaged. One is gone and one is in the system. It’s a tragedy all the way around.”
The driver of the first vehicle hit is listed in critical condition, the crossing guard suffered non-life threatening injuries, and a 9-year-old boy struck by flying debris was treated and released.
Police Commissioner Kevin Davis met with Amirah’s family Friday to update them and offer condolences.
“What can you really say to someone about to pick up their child from the school?” Smith asked. “A family, instead of celebrating at the end of the year, is preparing for a funeral.”
A candlelight vigil was held for Amirah outside of Steuart Hill on June 18 to remember the little girl. Tanyaneka Lipscomb, principal of Steuart Hill, described Kinlaw as a star student who put the needs of others ahead of herself.
“She was an example of being a star. She preserved through challenges of others, her peers, she helped them,” said Lipscomb. “This is my first experience with a loss,” she said. “We all here are doing the best we can. Our hearts are very heavy. I just ask everyone to keep us please keep us in your prayers. … more importantly, the family of Amirah.”
She said counselors led activities to help student cope with the loss and remember Amirah. Students drew pictures and wrote letters to remember their classmate.
“Love you. I wish you could be here,” one student wrote in black marker on a red balloon tied to a tree occupied by other balloons and stuffed animals.
“People will look at me like I’m crazy, but I’m a God-fearing man, so to let my daughter rest in peace, I will forgive him,” said Carter.