Baltimore police arrest driver of car in which 7-year-old girl was shot Thursday

The driver of a car in which a 7-year-old girl was shot in Southwest Baltimore has been arrested on drug and gun charges, Baltimore police said Friday.

Darnell Holmes, 33, was driving in the 500 block of Lyndhurst Street about 2:30 p.m. Thursday when shots were fired at the car, striking Taylor Hayes, who was in the back seat. Another child who was riding in the back seat was not injured.

Taylor, who was shot in the back, remained in critical and unstable condition at the University of Maryland Medical Center Friday, police said.

Officers found drugs and a gun with an extended magazine inside the car Holmes was driving, a Honda Accord with heavily-tinted windows, said Baltimore's interim police commissioner Gary Tuggle.

Attempts to reach Holmes or her lawyer were unsuccessful.

Tuggle said officers discovered shell casings from two different guns at the scene of the shooting, some of which matched the gun recovered from Holmes.

Police did not say whether there was an exchange of gunfire, but confirmed the bullet that hit Taylor entered the car through the trunk. “There was definitely more than one shooter,” Tuggle said.

Tuggle pleaded for the public to provide any information possible. While police said they do not believe the shooting was “a random act of violence,” they do not know who was the intended target.

Holmes is not cooperating with police, Tuggle said.

Police said Taylor is not related to Holmes, but the other child is. Taylor was sitting behind the Accord’s front passenger seat.

It’s unclear what relationship Taylor may have to the other child, with whom she recently spent the day at an amusement park, police said.

Five fatal shootings have occurred this year in the same area where Taylor was shot, but officers said they do not know if the shots fired Thursday were retaliatory.

“We are leaving no stone unturned,” Tuggle said. “We need everybody and anybody who even thinks they may have something to say something.”

Family members waited patiently for updates Friday outside the medical center’s pediatric ICU. They shared food and cans of soda on the waiting room’s couches, now converted into temporary beds.

Taylor’s aunt, Nicola Hayes, said Taylor loves to sing and dance.

“She just loves music. You put any music on, she’ll dance,” Hayes said Thursday.

Taylor, a student at Robert Coleman Elementary School, also loves reading and practiced her skills every week with a Reading Partners volunteer during the school year.

“When I would come to pull her out of class she would get so excited,” said Carrie Wells, who tutored Taylor for about an hour each week. “I think she really loves the one-on-one attention you get in the program.”

Carlillian Thompson, the school’s principal, said Taylor would meet her in her office almost every week to eat lunch.

“Every morning she would come into my office and give me a hug, and we would always tell each other we love each other,” said Thompson. “She’s one of those children who, when you see her, you just have to smile because she always has a smile on her face.”

School administrators are assembling a crisis team for students, teachers, staff and parents, said assistant principal Tifini Stewart. “We’re all just praying and in contact with mom, just to make sure that she’s OK and she gives us updates for how things go,” Stewart said.

Since the shooting, Taylor’s mother has created a GoFundMe page to raise money for her daughter.

llumpkin@baltsun.com

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