Keona Holley is a City of Baltimore, Maryland, police officer who is fighting for her life after being wounded in an ambush.
Online records show that Holley is 39-years-old. Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, speaking in a news conference, called the shooting a “cowardly brazen act of someone walking up and just opening fire on a police officer who is doing what we ask that officer to do – to go out and protect and serve.”
Police are still seeking information about the suspect. “We know that somebody knows something,” said Harrison.
In the news conference, the mayor, Brandon Scott, said, “This is a cowardly act. And we have a coward on the loose in Baltimore that we must and will find.” He said the suspect did not even have the “decency” to “face this officer” who was “…doing the things that so many people are afraid to do.” Holley put herself at risk to protect others, said Scott.
Holley is on “full life support,” officials say, describing her prognosis on December 16, 2021, as “guarded.” The motive is not yet clear.
Dr. Thomas Scalea said in the news conference that the officer was shot multiple times. “She’s critically ill,” he said. “She remains on full life-support measures at this time.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Police Say Holley’s Shooting Was a ‘Very Brazen Act’
There is a $118,000 reward for information relating to the shooting of Holley, according to WBAL-TV.
Baltimore City police said in a Facebook post that, on December 16, 2021, at 1:35 a.m., a Baltimore city police officer was shot while on-duty in the 440 block of Pennington Avenue. The FBI is also investigating.
In a news conference, Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said that, around 1:30 a.m., there was a vehicle crash. Holley’s police vehicle had crashed, and the driver of the vehicle, Holley, an officer assigned to the southern district, had been shot.
The officer was on-duty but wasn’t on call. She was parked at the time of the shooting. The shooter walked up somewhere from the rear of the vehicle, alongside it, and “began firing into the vehicle, striking our officer,” Harrison said. The officer likely accelerated from a parked position and then crashed somewhere in that block.
She was rushed into “shock trauma.”
Harrison pleaded with anyone in the community with information to “call us right away.”
Harrison labeled what happened a “very brazen act,” and said, “We absolutely are going to do everything within our power to find who did this and bring them to justice.”
Harrison added: “This family is depending on us.”
According to WTOP, police have identified a “vehicle of interest.”
Holley’s Sister Said Her Sister ‘Dug Her Feet Into the Dirt to Serve This City’ & Implored Baltimore to ‘Do Better’
Lawanda Sykes, Holley’s sister, spoke at a news conference about her sister. She implored the community’s residents to come forward with information; she called Holley’s shooter a “coward. You tried to snuff her and take something that you can’t. She is stronger than you will ever be.”
“What I need this city to know and understand is before she was a police officer, she’s a mother,” said Sykes. “She’s a daughter. She’s a sister. She’s a woman. She took on this job; she took on this responsibility. This has been a life-long goal of my sister to serve the Baltimore City Police Department. My sister dedicated herself to this job. She went in early. She stayed late.”
She spent “countless hours away from her children to serve the community…” the sister said. Sykes said the shooting made the family realize how much “she is needed” and loved. Holley “dug her feet into the dirt to serve this city,” said Sykes. “She deserves better.”
“…You know something. You’ve seen something,” Sykes said to the community. “…Don’t leave my family hanging. We’ve got to do better in this city. Baltimore, we are killing ourselves. It should not be like this. I should not have to explain to my children why they can’t go outside.” She said her children “don’t know what tag is… they don’t skate outside.”
Sykes said “my sister is fighting for her life.” She called her sister the “yin” to her “yang.”
According to WBAL-TV, Holley was hired by the force in 2019.
Holley, Who Used to be a Nursing Assistant, Was Known for Checking in With Local Businesses
Resik Patel, owner of the Soda Pop Shop across the street from the shooting, spoke positively about the officer to WBAL-TV.
“I feel so bad,” Patel told the television station. “She is a nice police officer. Every time she worked the night duty, she (came) when we close, ‘Hey, pop, how you doing?’ In the morning duty, she comes around 12 o’clock. She would talk. She was a nice officer and I feel so bad.”
“It’s just, it’s horrible. I mean, it’s really horrible news. She’s such a nice girl. I’m speechless,” said Rose Smith, a neighbor, to the television station. “She would have stories about our pets, and she loves our little dog. She comes and goes. Very polite, very nice young lady. I’m amazed. I’m shocked.”
The Baltimore Sun reported that Holley was a nursing assistant before she became a police officer.
“I didn’t want to be a Baltimore police officer before. I feel like Baltimore city police officers have a bad name about themselves,” she told Insider, according to The Sun.