Man shot at candlelight vigil for homicide victim

Shooting follows candlelight vigil for homicide victim.

The vigil candles were still burning on the Northeast Baltimore street where a 21-year-old man was killed this week when gunshots rang out again.

A 26-year-old man, who was not identified, was shot multiple times in the 5400 block of Moores Run Drive about 8 p.m. Thursday, police said. He was taken to a hospital and was expected to survive, police said.

At the vigil, Damien Best's family and a group of about 100 who were grieving and praying for him outside the Best family's home in Cedonia scrambled to take cover when the shooting started, his aunt said.

"We had babies out there, children out there," Denise Best said. "My living room looked like a war zone. But everybody, my family, we got in."

Shots were fired as the vigil was coming to a close, said Denise Best, who added that the gunfire seemed to come out of nowhere. She said the family did not know the latest victim and has no idea whether the shooting was related to her nephew's killing Monday.

"It's hurting me," she said. "It's hurting me bad."

Councilman Brandon Scott, who represents the area and lives nearby, arrived at the scene after the shooting. He said the neighborhood and police had held a campout with kids recently on the same block where the shootings happened.

Someone firing gunshots at a vigil, he said, "speaks to a lack of humility and humanity."

The neighborhood is usually quiet, he said, and residents had discussed improvements at a recent community meeting.

"Something like this really shakes the fabric of the community," he said.

Police have not identified suspects or motives in either shooting.

The night Damien Best was shot to death, the gunman, who was with a group of others in dark hoods, robbed him after killing him, said his mother, Vonda Best. She saw the tail end of her son's killing and ran outside, shouting at the shooter.

Vonda Best was lying down inside the home after the vigil and the shooting Thursday, her sister said.

Damien Best had no a criminal record in Maryland. His mother said he grew up in Cedonia, graduated from Reginald F. Lewis High School and had a job as a bank teller. "He was a nice guy, never got in trouble," his mother said earlier this week.

Best's death was the 29th homicide in Baltimore in October; with two killings since, the city has recorded more than one a day this month. With 281 homicides this year, the city is on pace to reach 300 before the year is out — a mark not seen since the 1990s.

Denise Best said the family plans to have a private funeral after they receive Damien Best's body from the medical examiner.

"It's sad," Denise Best said. "It's really sad. They've got to stop this killing."

cmcampbell@baltsun.com

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