Janea Langston was just 16 when she lost her oldest brother to Baltimore’s violence.
On Saturday, she will mourn and bury the second.
“It’s life. Everybody is always killing,” in Baltimore, Langston, now 33, said. “This the second time I had to go through this pain. I've lost everything. These killings have to stop.”
Though city officials have touted year-over-year declines in shooting and killings, violence continues to claim lives — including a 65-year-old grandmother who was sitting on her porch and a 7-year-old girl riding in the back seat of a car. And now, the violence has claimed another brother from Langston’s family.
Her eldest brother was one of 256 people killed in the city in 2001. Jyrunneil Hall, 23, was shot and killed on April 29, 2001, along with a second man, as they stood in front of a house in the 1800 block of Lauretta Ave in Harlem Park.
On July 21, her second oldest brother became the 157th homicide of 2018. Eurik Hall, 35, who went by “York,” was shot in the 2700 block of Rittenhouse Ave. in South Baltimore’s Lakeland neighborhood. Hall’s death occurred during a violent weekend; nine others were injured in shootings in a 24-hour span.
Homicide detectives told Langston that her brother was robbed at gunpoint, pistol-whipped, and taken in the trunk of a car to a park, where he was shot once in the head, she said.
Police have not made any arrests. A police spokeswoman confirmed detectives believe the motive was robbery.
Langston said her brother’s particularly heinous death is evidence of a lack of regard for life in the city.
“They just need to cherish more. They do not understand when they kill people they hurt the family,” Langston said.
Her brother had been a criminal at one point, too, she said. Online court records show he had been charged with a number of violent offenses. He was convicted of armed robbery in 1999 and sentenced to five months, records show. A spokesman for the department of corrections said Hall then violated his probation. He was later released from a facility in downtown Baltimore in 2002, but he again violated probation for marijuana possession and spent seven months at Eastern Correctional Institution.
Since his release, he became a loving uncle to Langston’s four children, and enjoyed playing the lottery in hopes of winning his big break to take care of his family.
“He wasn’t a bad man and he didn’t deserve this,” Langston said.
She said she and her three siblings had a difficult childhood. Her father was addicted to drugs and her mother had a drinking problem, she said. Both parents have since died, she said. The family didn’t have money, moved all over the city and were regularly kicked out of homes, Langston said.
While she couldn’t depend on her parents, she said her brothers always made sure she was taken care of.
Three days after Jyrunneil Hall’s death, Eurik Hall was arrested.
From prison, he regularly called to check on her and and their mother, she said. Langston said their mother died when Eurik Hall was still incarcerated. Her brother was distraught that he could not attend the funeral and he resolved to change himself, Langston said.
“When he came home he was a better person. He got smarter. He chose to do things a lot different,” she said.
He realized he had missed other family milestones. Langston said she got married and had her first two children before he returned home. He was able be with her while she was pregnant with her third and fourth child. He also helped take of his two own children.
Langston said Hall became the doting uncle — always at birthdays, graduations and other special events for her kids. She recalled how he’d take her youngest son to the grocery store to get him a treat, and bananas, which were her son’s favorite fruit.
Now, Langston’s younger children are struggling to comprehend why their uncle is gone.
“They keep asking about him,” she said.
Langston said her brother had come by her home for a visit the night before he was killed. Afterward, she dropped him off at his apartment on Fulton Avenue, where he was living with a girlfriend.
“He talked about his girlfriend getting a job,” and how, “when he hit the lottery, he was going to buy an island,” she said.
When they were kids, Langston said an uncle took her and her siblings on a trip to Puerto Rico. They were amazed water could be so blue.
“Coming from Baltimore City you don’t see water like that here,” she said. “It was the best days of our lives.”
She said he always hoped to win a large jackpot to get back to the beautiful water. He never did.
Anyone with information about Hall’s death is asked to call detectives at 410-396-2100 or the Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7LOCKUP. Tips can be texted to 443-902-4824.