Dozens of people huddled on a Federal Hill South block on Friday evening to celebrate the life of 25-year-old Tim Moriconi, who was gunned down just a day before in an apparent robbery.
It was not unlike other vigils for other loved ones lost during record homicides in the city in recent years. They lit candles, sang a song and even cheered. Some spoke of the wretchedness that came with suddenly losing such an integral part of their lives.
But others, including those who didn’t know Moriconi but live nearby, were trying to soothe their shock and process a random shooting in a neighborhood normally spared such violence.
“He was such a kind-hearted person, and would have done anything for you,” Nicole Holtz, a friend and neighbor, said through tears. “It wasn’t even late. He was just walking home. He was just steps from his house.”
She and others spoke of hanging out with Moriconi at One Star Country Club, a Cross Street bar where he was known to walk up to strangers, introduce himself and immediately make them feel like “they’d been friends forever.”
Friends said Moriconi left a relative’s house nearby and was almost home when one gun shot pierced the side of his head at about 7:22 p.m. Thursday during a steady rain. Neighbors, many who heard the gunshot but nothing more, immediately ran to him and and offered aid and CPR and yelled for others to call 911 as rain came down on them.
Ken Rhoad lives across the street and said that when he heard what a loud bang that he was certain came from a gun, he put on his shoes and ran outside. He spotted Moriconi, who he recognized from the neighborhood, and began offering aid along with nurses who also live nearby.
Rhoad said they keep up compressions for eight or 10 minutes until an ambulance came and took Moriconi to the hospital, where he died. He described how they tried to help, least someone think they didn’t do all they could.
“We did what we could; the wound was so severe,” he said. “When you try and help someone you want to be successful. When you’re not, it’s heart-breaking. This is all heart-breaking.”
Rhoad said he’s often saddened by homicides in the city he’s called home for years, and where he has a family and feels a strong sense of community from regular neighborhood parties and events.
“Every one of them sucks,” he said of killings in every neighborhood. “This one, it just shouldn’t have happened.”
Others expressed disappointment and even anger about the killing, briefly directing their ire at Eric Costello, the city councilman who represents the district. Costello had come to the scene the night of the killing, and went to another homicide in another community he serves earlier Friday, so he could try and get his own answers and update neighbors.
“People are angry, scared and frustrated, and they’re sick of excuses,” he said. “This is an immediate, short-term and long-term problem. We immediately need more police patrols. ...I’ll keep calling for additional resources until we get them.”