Taylor Hayes, a 7-year-old girl who was shot while riding in the backseat of a family member’s car in Southwest Baltimore, has died after “fighting for her life” for two weeks.
Baltimore police spokesman T.J. Smith confirmed the young girl’s death Thursday morning. Hayes was shot on July 5th at approximately 2:30 p.m. in the 500 block of Lyndhurst Avenue in the Edmondson Village area, according to Baltimore CBS Local. She was then hospitalized at an area hospital and spent two weeks fighting to stay alive.
Here’s what you need to know about Hayes and the incident that took her life:
1. Hayes Was Killed After a Bullet that Went Through the Trunk of the Vehicle Struck Her in Her Back
The second-grader was riding in the backseat of a Honda Accord on July 5 when she was struck in her back with a bullet that went through the car’s trunk around 2:30 p.m., according to Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle.
Tuggle stated that a number of shots were fired in the 500 block of Lyndhurst Street, and that based on the number of shell casing recovered, at least two different guns were involved in the incident.
“After the shooting, police said the Honda Accord left the crime scene and drove to Edmondson Avenue, where detectives recovered a .40-caliber handgun with an extended magazine as well as suspected narcotics,” Patch reports.
Baltimore police released a video of a white Mercedes-Benz in connection with the crime scene. Police are asking the public for tips about the white Mercedes, which may have dark paint transferred onto it, according to Patch.
2. Darnell Holmes, the Driver of the Car Hayes Was Riding In, Was Arrested the Following Day on Gun & Drug Charges
The driver of the car, Darnell Holmes, was arrested the following day after officers reportedly found a loaded gun, digital scale, and heroin in the glove box of the car. Holmes is being charged with six counts of gun and drug-related offenses.
Holmes, 33, worked for the Baltimore City Public Schools as an aide, and said the gun and drugs found in the vehicle belonged to her boyfriend, according to Fox 45.
Holmes’ attorney, Staci Pipkin, says Holmes doesn’t know who shot at the car and that Hayes is the daughter of Holmes’ cousin, CBS Baltimore reports. She has not been charged with shooting the 7-year-old girl, but officials said her involvement in the shooting was unclear.
“We do not know if she was the target. We do not know if she was the person who fired,” Tuggle said.
3. The Windows of Holmes’ Car Were Tinted, Making it Unlikely That The Shooter Would Have Known Who Was in the Vehicle
According to Patch, the car Holmes was driving had dark tinted windows. Tuggle noted that a shooter could not have seen who was inside, making it more difficult to pinpoint the motive for the shooting.
There was another child in the vehicle, believed to be related to Holmes, according to police. The second child was not injured. Fox 45 reported that they were headed to an amusement park at the time of the shooting.
“It was not a random act of violence,” Tuggle said. “We’re trying to determine exactly what the motive was.”
4. Hayes was a Second-Grader Who Loved Reading, Dancing & Singing
Hayes is remembered as a bright girl who loved reading, dancing and singing, according to the Baltimore Sun. She was a second-grader at Robert Coleman Elementary School when she was killed.
“Every morning she would come into my office and give me a hug, and we would always tell each other we love each other,” said Carlillian Thompson, the principal of Robert Coleman Elementary School. “She’s one of those children who, when you see her, you just have to smile because she always has a smile on her face.”
Twitter lit up with users expressing heartbreak at the act of violence that took Hayes young life.
“Heartbroken to learn that Taylor Hayes, the 7-year old girl who was shot in Baltimore several weeks ago, passed away this morning after a long battle in intensive care. My prayers and my heart are with Taylor and her family this morning,” one user posted.
Sima Lee wrote: “Our babies deserves so much better. Rest in Peace little one.”
5. A GoFundMe Page Has Been Set Up to Help The Family With Hospital & Funeral Expenses
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay for Haye’s funeral expenses. The page has raised over $11 thousand of the $20 thousand goal.
“On July 5 my seven year old baby girl was a victim of Baltimore city shooting violence , this is the worst thing that could have ever happened , my baby is in critical condition fighting for her life …I ask if you can help any little thing would help us,” the page reads.
The page is flooded with condolences of thoughts and prayers for Hayes family, with people from all over the country expressing their sadness at her death.
“My heart is broken. I felt like I knew Taylor after seeing her beautiful face. I prayed for her everyday. I wanted to see her pull through. I am praying for your strength Shanika as you bury your sweet Angel,” Angela Walton wrote.
Officials have urged the driver of the car to turn themselves in. Anyone with information can text tips to 443-902-4824 or call detectives 410-396-2100, per Baltimore police.