By Denise Koch

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — When we talk about 2017’s 340+ murders in Baltimore, we’re not just talking about numbers. We’re talking about victims. We’re talking about families. Devastated families.

And 2017 proved that that kind of devastation can happen to anyone. It can happen to Attorney Warren Brown, whose stepson was killed.

It can happen to Baltimore Police spokesman T.J. Smith, whose younger brother was murdered.

And it can happen to veteran state delegate Talmadge Branch, whose grandson was killed on Labor Day weekend.

“Tyrone was the person who I would least expect something to happen to because he was so loved,” said his mother, Chanel Branch. “No matter where we went, somebody knew him.”

Tyrone Ray was 22, and he was known and loved by his family, his two children, his coworkers and the kids he coached in football.

It’s possible that the two men who walked up to him on Labor Day and shot him nine times on the street in Belair-Edison also knew him.

It was noon, and he was on crutches.

After getting the call, “I called my dad and my mother and I just had a feeling in my heart that something wasn’t right,” Chanel says.

“She was telling me, ‘He was shot, he was shot,'” Branch said. “I told her, you know, ‘Things might be OK,’ but we didn’t know to the extent, what extent it was.

By the time Chanel got to the hospital, Tyrone was dead.

One 19-year-old suspect has been arrested and charged. Police have identified but not arrested the second.

But no justice system can relieve the pain.

“I’m trying to help my daughter and keep he strong and keep her, help her keep her sanity,” Branch says. “And then at the same time, work with her to bury her child.”

“If you can think of a time when you may have been frightened… and you had a piercing feeling to your heart, that’s what I feel every day,” Chanel says. “Sometimes I change my clothes three times because I don’t want to put on blue.”

Blue was Tyrone’s favorite color.

“If you look at the city in 2017, I think Tyrone was number 239, we ended up having more than 342 families to go through and deal with what she’s dealing with and what I’m dealing with now,” Branch says. “Which I would never wish on anybody.”

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