BALTIMORE (WJZ) — At just seven, Taylor Hayes has become a homicide victim in Baltimore.
Officials confirm 7-year-old Taylor Hayes died Thursday morning after being shot while sitting in the back of a car in west Baltimore.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Taylor. She fought very hard. Her family is in our thoughts and prayers,” Baltimore Police spokesman TJ Smith said Thursday.
She’s been hospitalized for two weeks, fighting for her life and having multiple surgeries. Just days ago, the family thought she was improving.
“She’s doing good. She’s so strong,” Taylor’s uncle said to WJZ just days ago.
But the 7-year-old’s fight ended Thursday. The news was crushing her community.
Councilman Kristerfer Burnett said he was stunned by the news.
“This morning I reached out to the mom just to see how she was doing and I had no idea she had passed so that was a really hard way to start the day.” Burnett said.
“An innocent child. Innocent. She got caught in the middle of foolishness. She had her whole life ahead of her. She was just a baby,” Emma Anthony, who lives in the community where Taylor was shot, said.
Taylor was shot July 5 at 2:30 p.m. in Edmondson Village area of the city.
“It’s just so devastating. As a parent, how do you lose a baby in such a tragic way. It’s just really sad.” Alvonia Allen, Baltimore resident, said.
It’s a shooting that’s racked Baltimore with people using social media to share #prayersfortaylor.
“I even heard some people call her the baby of Baltimore,” said Taylor’s uncle.
The 7-year-old is the latest victim of a city ravaged by gun violence. Some felt they could’ve saved her.
“I feel responsible in a way because it takes a village to stop the violence and when the village goes array, this is what happens.” says David Murphy, who was walking with his 7-year-old grandson.
Since the shooting, police blasted out video of a white Mercedes Benz to find the gunman.
“We believe the shooter, or one of the shooters, was in that Mercedes,” Interim Commissioner Garry Tuggle said.
Police say the shooting doesn’t appear to be random but they still aren’t sure the intended target. She was rising in the backseat of an Honda Accord along Lyndhurst Street when she was stuck in the back by a bullet.
Those who knew Taylor said she loved reading, dancing and singing — and had a smile that could light up a room.
A little girl with so much life ahead of her lost to a senseless act of violence.
Police arrested 33-year-old Darnell Holmes, the driver of the vehicle in which the girl was in at the time of the shooting, after officers reportedly found a gun and drugs inside the car.
Holmes’ attorney, Staci Pipkin, says Holmes doesn’t know who shot at the car and that Taylor is the daughter of Holmes’ cousin.
Police released surveillance of this white Mercedes Benz near Edmondson Ave and Lyndhurst Street that they believe could have a connection with the shooting.
Police ask anyone with information about the shooting to call detectives at 410-396-2100 or text tips to 443-902-4824.