7-year-old girl 'fighting for her life' after shooting in Southwest Baltimore

A 7-year-old girl is “fighting for her life” after she was shot Thursday afternoon while riding in the back seat of a car in Southwest Baltimore, police said.

The girl is in “critical and unstable condition” at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, police spokesman T.J. Smith said at the scene of the shooting on Edmondson Avenue.

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

Family members outside the hospital identified the girl as Taylor Hayes, a second grader who they said loves to sing and dance.

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

“I’m hoping she recovers,” said her grandfather, Trannie Hayes.

Taylor was going into surgery at noon Friday, her family confirmed.

“Taylor is still fighting,” Smith tweeted Friday morning.

Traffic on Edmondson heading toward downtown was blocked for several hours while police canvassed the area. The car the girl was riding in remained in the middle of the street. At least one bullet hole could be seen in the back of the vehicle.

Smith said the shooting likely occurred around 2:30 p.m. in the 500 block Lyndhurst Street, a few blocks away. He did not know whether someone in the car was the shooter’s intended target.

A man knocked on the window of a police car on the corner of Normandy and Edmondson avenues and said a child had been shot, Smith said. The officer flagged down a passing ambulance, and a medic rendered aid to the girl and transported her to Shock Trauma.

The girl was unresponsive, police said.

The woman who was driving the car and another child in the back seat were not harmed, police said. Smith would not say whether the driver was the victim’s mother.

Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle visited the scene of the shooting and then headed to Shock Trauma to check on the girl and her family, Smith said.

On Friday morning, Mayor Catherine Pugh visited with Taylor’s family in the waiting room at Shock Trauma, and gave Taylor’s mother a hug. Pugh declined to comment to a reporter.

The police department will review security footage from area shops and city cameras, he said. He asked for the public’s help in gathering information about what happened.

“Somebody saw this,” he said.

In a city with one of the nation’s highest rates of gun violence, Smith said, the shooting of such a young victim was particularly jarring.

“I got a 6-year-old. I can’t imagine this,” Smith said. “When you know the level of innocence … this is outside the boundaries of any rules of the game. You don’t shoot kids.”

As officers placed evidence markers by shell casings at the scene on Lyndhurst, three boys walked toward the corner store near where the girl was found. An officer shuffled them away, because the area was now a crime scene.

“Can’t even let the children out to play nowadays,” said a neighbor watching from across the street. She asked to remain anonymous for fear of her safety.

“I’d been in the house and rolled my hair up and I said, ‘Why is the street blocked?’ ” the woman said.

She had heard from a neighbor that a 7-year-old girl had been shot.

In her 46 years living in the neighborhood, she said, she had never seen this level of violence.

“It’s getting worse,” she said.

Karen Liptons, 54, stood on the front step of her home she’s lived in for five years. She had just come home when the police arrived.

“It’s just an evil world we living in right now,” Liptons said.

Smith urged anyone with information about the shooting to text tips to 443-902-4824 or call homicide detectives at 410-396-2100.

Baltimore Sun reporters Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs and Lauren Lumpkin contributed to this article.

nbogelburroughs@baltsun.com

twitter.com/nickatnews

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