One year ago, Destiny Harrison, the dynamic East Baltimore hair stylist, was gunned down in the N. Milton Street salon she owned. Her killer is still at large. (Courtesy photo)

By Sean Yoes
AFRO Senior Reporter
syoes@afro.com

Dec. 21, marked one year since Destiny Da’sha Harrison, the charismatic and indefatigable hair stylist and salon owner was murdered. Her slaying sent shockwaves through a city traumatized by yet another year of virulent violence.

Harrison, 21, was shot in the head just after 6 p.m. that evening in 2019, at her salon, Madame D Beauty Bar, on N. Milton Avenue., in East Baltimore. She was gunned down in front of witnesses, including her 1-year-old daughter Dream.

Her homicide happened less than two weeks after she was beaten and robbed by a man and woman, who were allegedly dating. Harrison filed a police complaint against the two individuals that robbed and assaulted her. In the complaint she said “I’m scared for my life and business.”

According to police records, she was murdered just two days after a restraining order was filed against the man who robbed her salon and assaulted her. A year later her killer has not been caught.

As 2020 finally comes to a close, it appears violence and murder against women in Baltimore may be ticking upward significantly.

According to a report by FOX 45, in Baltimore there were seven women killed in the month of June alone. Further, their reporting indicates 33 women were the victims of homicide in 2018. In 2019, that number increased to 37. But, in 2020 unofficially 48 females have been murdered in Baltimore so far, a significant increase.

The end of the year has also been particularly deadly for women in the city. On Dec. 20 and Dec. 21, there were a total of seven people murdered in the city, four of those homicide victims were female. Of the four women murdered, three were unidentified perhaps fueling a rumor that a serial killer has been targeting women in Baltimore. It’s an assertion the Baltimore Police Department denies.

A report by NBC News in October indicated domestic violence homicides are on the rise around cities across the nation, according to preliminary data gathered by local law enforcement agencies. Experts attribute much of the increase to the social and economic strains produced by the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic.

A year ago, just prior to when COVID-19 began to ravage the nation, Harrison’s murder devastated her family who still seek justice.

“It’s unbelievable some evil soul would do something like this,” said Harrison’s uncle Dewine McQueen at the time of his niece’s murder. “I just can’t believe it. Somebody’s got to know something, please come forward. We need to get these demonic souls. They need to pay for their crime, there’s no doubt about that in the name of Jesus. There’s no doubt,” McQueen added.

Bro. McQueen also talked about how his niece built her salon from the ground up, that she was “a go-getter and “an entrepreneur.”

Indeed, she was a sparkling example of a young woman determined to break so many foul stereotypes so many of her peers have been unfairly anointed with.

Harrison established an on-line beauty business at age 18. She worked multiple jobs as she paid her way through Bowie State University. 

By March of 2018, she announced she was pregnant with her beloved daughter Dream and one year later she opened her salon on N. Milton Ave. Less than a year later she was savagely murdered in that salon. Her homicide shook many residents to the core.

As I wrote last year in the wake of her murder, instead of being inspired by her talent and prodigious work ethic, there were those who were consumed with jealousy and envy as they witnessed the legend of the East Baltimore hair wizard burgeon before their very eyes.

For them Harrison was not a reflection of the best and brightest among us, for them she was only a reminder of everything that they are not. And her brilliance was too much for them to bear. 

Sean Yoes is the AFRO’s senior reporter and the author of Baltimore After Freddie Gray: Real Stories From One of America’s Great Imperiled Cities.

 

Sean Yoes

AFRO Baltimore Editor