17-Year-Old Youth Leader Laid To Rest As City Leaders Work To Stop Teen Violence
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Baltimore City Police are turning up the heat to find out who is responsible for the shooting death of a 17-year-old high school student. Hundreds were in attendance for the funeral of Michael Mayfield.
Rochelle Ritchie has more on what the police commissioner says will be done to get these criminals off the street.
The police commissioner says it will take a village to turn the city of Baltimore around. Mayfield’s murder is escalating the need for peace and safe streets.
Hundreds of people gather at Perkins Baptist Church to say goodbye to Mayfield, a 17-year-old Edmondson-Westside High School senior shot and killed last week on Lyndhurst Avenue.
His funeral was so packed that some had to stand outside.
“To go in there and see him laying in casket and saying Mike is really not here, it’s a sad thing,” said Andre Baldwin, Mayfield’s cousin.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, pictured with Mayfield and other members of the Air Force ROTC program, stood at his casket.
Mayfield is one of seven Baltimore City teens killed this year.
WJZ learned that family members of 14-year-old Najee Thomas, who was shot in the head Tuesday morning, attended Mayfield’s funeral.
Two teenagers killed in two weeks and no arrests.
“Fourteen and 17 clearly way too young. Sure both kids, Najee was innocent just as well as Mike is, just living their lives and for someone to take that from them just isn’t right,” said Sidney McCardell, Mayfield’s cousin.
Baltimore City Police Commissioner Anthony Batts says they are turning up the heat on finding the gunmen responsible for the teens’ deaths. He says while crime is down across the city, those numbers mean very little now.
“Who cares when you’ve had a 17 year-old shot nine times or a 14-year-old shot in the head,” Batts said.
A city councilman fed up with violence says enough is enough.
“These are our kids and only we are going to save them. The government can’t save them alone. All of us have to work to do that,” said Councilman Brandon Scott.
In an effort to stop the bloodshed, church leaders are now devoted to coming out in full force to lead not behind church walls but in the field.
“It’s the responsibility of the church to move outside of the church and hit the street corners. The city of Baltimore needs to see that kind of invasion. There are more than 2,000 churches in the city of Baltimore, but if we are not having any impact then we might as well shut down,” said Rev. Jamal Bryant, Empowerment Temple pastor.
Police Commissioner Batts says the city cannot arrest its way out of the violence. He says it will take more than just his department to turn the city around. It will take the entire community.
Mayfield was set to graduate from Edmondson-Westside High School next month. He had already been accepted into a university in North Carolina. There is a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Mayfield’s killer.
The family of Najee Thomas has set up a memorial fund to help pay for funeral expenses. For more information, click here.
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