BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The surge in violence is taking a physical and emotional toll. The number of children shot has increased more than 600 percent compared to last year.
WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren has more.
Kevin Jones, 22, was killed in the parking lot at Pimlico as he walked to work. He was a security guard there.
And then there’s 16-year-old Arnesha Barnes. Someone killed her and then lit her family’s house on fire to cover it up. Her grandmother is now breaking her silence.
This is the face of the terrible toll violence is taking on Baltimore and its young people. Arnesha Bowers, 16, was a promising student at Baltimore City College High School.
Police found her body inside her grandmother Sandra’s burning home in Northeast Baltimore.
Heartbroken, Sandra has since taken shelter outside the area.
“Arnesha had a beautiful smile and everyone would comment when they met her, ‘You have a lovely smile.’ She had a beautiful heart to match,” her grandmother, Sandra Bowers, said.
Arnesha is one of four young victims of violence over the weekend in a month that’s on pace to meet May’s staggering number of shootings and homicides.
“It’s just unnecessary, the violence and shooting and killing. It’s almost like you’re desensitized that that’s another human being,” said Bowers.
Police have no suspects and have made no arrests in Arnesha’s death. Her next door neighbors remember talking to her the day before.
“My wife even spoke to her again about watering the garden and flowers,” said David Potter.
Hellgren: “And it didn’t appear that anything was wrong?”
Potter: “No. Nothing I noticed. Never in my wildest dreams or anyone in the neighborhood would have thought it would have been something terrible like this.”
Hellgren: “Do you have any idea who may have done this horrible crime?”
Bowers: “No. I really don’t. I don’t have any idea, and I’ll never understand it.”
Now, all Sandra Bowers has are memories of her granddaughter.
“That was my best, best buddy in the whole wide world. And that was my thing I would say to her and give her a hug. She loved to say, ‘Give me hugs. Granny, give me hugs,'” she said.
Bowers says she believes young people have a false sense of security. She says she wants all of Arnesha’s friends to know that she loves them.
Among the other victims of violence over the weekend: eight and ten-year-old boys shot in the Darley Park neighborhood and a 13-year-old shot in Cherry Hill.