Lily Howe was the first to be shot, the bullet traveling through her shoulder and out as she tried to protect her longtime friend from a gunman loose in their Pigtown rowhouse early Tuesday morning.
Next was William Monroe, gunned down in the hallway outside the bedroom where his girlfriend, Meaghan Kerrigan, and 17-month-old baby were hiding, according to Howe. Kerrigan was fatally shot with her daughter in the same room, while Monroe's mother, Rhonda Haughie, was shot in the arm. Monroe would later die at a hospital.
On Wednesday evening, Howe, her arm in a sling and still wearing a hospital wristband, joined at least 150 people who gathered Wednesday night in the 1200 block of South Carey Street, where the shooting took place, to remember Kerrigan, 22, and Monroe, 21.
Howe, a family friend, said she considered Haughie, Kerrigan and Monroe her family and didn't think twice about trying to take a bullet for Haughie. "I wish it was me instead of them," Howe said, referring to Kerrigan and Monroe. "I'd do it all over again. That's what you do when you love your family unconditionally. This is my family."
Charging documents in Tuesday's shooting show that the attack stemmed from a dispute over $10. Melville Mason, 35, was formally charged with two counts of first-degree murder, four counts of attempted first-degree murder and numerous other charges, and is being held without bail. Police say he was caught trying to escape the home after the shooting.
Court records show that officers responding to the scene inside a home in the 1200 block of S. Carey St. found Kerrigan's 1-year-old daughter, who was unharmed, sitting next to her body, patting her on the back.
Witnesses told police that Mason, known as "P.J.," broke into the home through a first-floor window propped open with a window fan and began firing. Mason allegedly left the home, obtained a new handgun, and returned through the same window and began firing again.
Inside, Lita Shaw, who said she was sleeping on a couch in the home's living room when Mason kicked in a window on the porch, said she heard Mason say, "I am the reaper" and, "This is your worst nightmare." She was able to avoid being shot.
Police said that Mason and "an occupant" of the Carey Street home had been in a dispute over money, with witnesses indicating that Mason was owed $10, charging documents say. Wednesday night, friends and family said the dispute over the $10 was between Mason and Monroe.
Mason, who lives a few houses down at the corner of South Carey and Carroll streets, had no attorney listed in court records. Evelyn Lawson, his grandmother, has said that Mason is a churchgoing, married man and a good father to his 1-year-old daughter, and that she does not believe what he is accused of.
Shawn Haughie, Monroe’s brother, said Wednesday night he was still trying to process the loss, and that he and Kerrigan’s father were making plans to ensure the baby was cared for. He said his brother was a standout baseball player and devoted to his young family.
“The story I’ve gotten from my mother, it just plays in your head,” said Haughie, 26. “It’s horrible.”
Family members say they reported to police that Mason came into the home on Friday and assaulted the young couple and Monroe's mother, but police did not arrest Mason. Detective Jeremy Silbert, a Baltimore police spokesman, said Wednesday that police responded to the home on Friday and that officials were looking into what happened during the time when police investigated that complaint.
"We just feel like it was pushed off and now we're left to pick up the pieces," Shawn Haughie said.
Tiffany Haughie, Monroe’s sister-in-law, said Monroe and Kerrigan were high school sweethearts.
“He was an excellent father,” she said. “He would do anything for his family. He had his ups and downs but was growing into a very mature man.”
Family and friends said that Rhonda Haughie is recovering from her injury and that she hopes to be discharged from the hospital in a few days, and that she is struggling to accept the loss of her son and Kerrigan.
“Really I think she’s in shock right now,” said Angela Chittum, a family friend. “She’s got a long road ahead of her.”
Monroe “gave his life protecting his family,” Chittum said. On Wednesday, loved ones were still trying to make sense of how a dispute allegedly beginning over a $10 debt could escalate.
“It makes you think on life and how stupid people are,” said Howe, still nursing her arm. “People should not want to retaliate.”
Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton contributed to this report.