By J. K. Schmid, Special to the AFRO
(Updated July 19) – Taylor Hayes, the 7-year-old shot in Southwest Baltimore, died Thursday morning, according to the Baltimore Police Department.
“Sad Update: Seven-year-old, Taylor Hayes passed away this morning. She was shot while sitting in a vehicle a couple of weeks ago,” T.J. Smith, Baltimore Police Department spokesman, tweeted.
Sad Update: Seven-year-old, Taylor Hayes passed away this morning. She was shot while sitting in a vehicle a couple of weeks ago. Anyone with info text tips to 443-902-4824/ Call detectives 410-396-2100 or @MCSMaryland https://t.co/8ArPMjnoEk
— T.J. Smith (@TJSmithMedia) July 19, 2018
Hayes was seated in the backseat of a car when a bullet penetrated the vehicle’s trunk and struck her.
Taylor Hayes remains hospitalized after being shot by unknown assailants July 5. (GoFundMe)
Interim Baltimore Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle reported that Hayes’s condition had made “slight improvements” after multiple surgeries during a July 9 press conference.
“Just to understand her condition for the last several days, prior to this update, was critical and unstable, and that’s really significant, that’s touch and go, you don’t know from one minute to the next, her condition has improved ever so slightly from where she was,” said Baltimore police spokesman T.J. Smith during the same press conference. “That’s what the commissioner was relaying. She’s not by any means out of the woods or about to walk out of the hospital. So, let’s not make this look like, you know, Taylor’s about to go and enjoy the rest of her summer.”
The meeting, in Edmondson Village, relocated at the last minute from Mary E. Rodman Elementary school, took place at Edgewood Lyndhurst Recreation Center at 7 p.m. Leadership was invited from the Nation of Islam (NOI) and 300 Gangstas.
The meeting quickly moved to setting an agenda and creating an itemized list of community demands. The meeting started so quickly, it had to stop and start over so that it might open with an evening prayer.
The raising of issues started conventionally and without controversy. Some young people asked for facilities and organization that would allow for the community’s regular participation in basketball games. An adult asked for bolstered wraparound services for at-risk youth and their families. Opinions began to diverge on whether child criminals or children at risk of turning to criminality should be made a priority, of if a two-pronged approach would serve best.
“How many killers do we have in the room,” PFK Boom, a Baltimore activist with 300 Gangstas asked.
Four individuals raised their hands.
Boom went on to say that without more engagement with members of the community who are actually committing violence in Southwest Baltimore and Baltimore at large, little progress could be made.
Big Wolfe, also with 300 Gangstas, also pointed out the lack engagement across this divide and admonished those gathered for not considering or addressing how to make inroads. “You all ain’t ready for what needs to be done,” Wolfe said, but added as he departed they would know where to find him when they were.
Emotions continued to rise. A woman, and 22-year resident, who identified herself as a veteran of combat in the U.S. military overseas, and the person who invited NOI and 300 Gangstas said, “I didn’t expect to come home to a combat zone.”
Wayne Amon Ra, a local activist who negotiated the agreement that led to the dismantling of Tent City of War Memorial Park, and took a leadership position of the soon shuttered alternative shelter at Pinderhughes Elementary in Sandtown, wanted to know what was going to be done to assist him in his fight against pedophiles and sex traffickers who he said are raiding the city.
Another woman wanted to advocate for women and girls to dress more modestly in order to reduce the sexual assaults and kidnapping of young Baltimore girls.
“Taylor is doing great, she’s doing fine,” Hayes’s uncle, Mark, told a WJZ reporter July 12. “Nothing has changed, she’s still with us. We’re still here, we’re still praying for her. Taylor’s a strong young lady, to be seven years old and to be going through what’s she’s going through, she’s strong.”
An AFRO request to the NOI for an official list of demands was not answered by press time.