BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It was December 2016. A typical Friday for then-Baltimore Councilwoman Rochelle “Rikki” Spector.
Around 10 a.m., as she walked to her car in the south Baltimore garage where it was parked, the 80-year-old noticed two teenagers walking toward her.
“They pulled the door open, punched me out, and then threw me across the garage into a concrete pillar,” she said.
WJZ’s Vic Carter recently had a chance to talk to Spector, and to the boys, about the attack, and everything that has happened since.
“It was random, we just came out of nowhere for her,” one of them said. “I can’t really describe it, it just came out of nowhere.”
After the attack, as the boys tried to drive off, a security gate prevented them from getting out of the garage.
And Spector, screaming, beaten and bruised, attracted the attention of two good Samaritans who rushed to help. Eventually, police arrested the teens.
“When we went to court and the judge told me that the big one was going to honor up to what he did and plead guilty for what he did, I went over to him and I said, ‘I’m really proud of you for recognizing and owning up to what you did wrong.'”
Spector says her heart went out to him.
“We just hugged each other,” she said. “And I knew I was hooked.”
In an amazing twist of fate, Spector is now an advocate for the boys. She credits UEmpower of Maryland, a community-based nonprofit that works with children in high crime areas, in hopes of making sure they don’t end up in a life of crime.
When Vic met with the boys, he asked them to compare what their lives were like on the day of the attack, and what they’re like now.
“I’m doing better in school,” one said. “In the neighborhood, I’m doing better.”
“Bad things, they try to follow me everywhere I go,” said the other. “But I just think about that, that thing. Like I don’t want to go down that road again.”
And Spector is there to help keep the boys on track. She sees them often, and says she loves them as her own children.
“They’re my boys,” she says. “I kiss them and I hug them and I say, ‘I’m so glad I see you, I’m so glad to be with you.'”
Spector says she’s glad things worked out the way they did.
“…that restorative justice, restoring their faith, your faith, your love, your humanity, is so much better than if they had been given some punitive punishment,” she says. “I really love those boys, and just like my own, I don’t always like them, but I always love them.”
She says she plans to stay in their lives so she can be there when they succeed.