The women stood on the West Baltimore corner Monday shaking their heads as homicide detectives searched for clues around a gold Volkswagen parked in front of the Rainbow Carry Out.
Equilla Henriques, 45, had seen the shooting victim on the ground next to the car, a paramedic pumping his chest. She had yelled to him even though he was a stranger: "We here for you! We here for you! Come on back!"
The man — identified Tuesday as Ernest Soloman, 26, of Brubar Court in Baltimore County — was shot multiple times in the 2400 block of Reisterstown Road just south of Gwynns Falls Parkway and Mondawmin Mall. He was pronounced dead at Johns Hopkins Hospital a short time later, police said.
"Every time you turn around, someone's getting killed," Henriques said. "It's so sad."
Moments later, a commotion stirred beyond the yellow tape. A detective opened one of the rear doors of the Volkswagen and pulled a toddler out of the car into his arms. All three women on the corner let out screams.
Officers were first called to the scene about 1:15 p.m. It was now about 2:45 p.m.
"Oh my God, a baby was in there this whole time?" Henriques shouted angrily at police.
A detective walked to the police tape. He said you couldn't see the toddler through the heavily-tinted windows of the car, even standing right next to it. Then he'd heard a cry from inside. The toddler — a girl — must have been asleep before then, he thought.
Officers quickly got her water, and wetted a cloth to cool her down.
The girl, who was in a car seat, was taken to a local hospital as a precaution, but appeared to be fine, said Donny Moses, a police spokesman. She appeared to be less than a year old, he said.
The girl was reunited with her family later on Monday, Moses said.
Soloman owned the Volkswagen, but police still were trying to determine the relationship between him and the girl late Monday, Moses said.
Yellow evidence markers surrounded the Volkswagen. One marker was on the trunk of the car. Police did not describe precisely where they believed Soloman had been shot.
Moses said police did not make a mistake in not opening and searching the car sooner.
"Who would think that a baby would be in that car in the middle of a shooting scene?" he said.
The shooting marked Baltimore's 76th homicide of 2017. Through March 18, homicides and nonfatal shootings were up more than 40 percent over the same time last year.
The 74th homicide of the year occurred Sunday about two blocks away in the 2300 block of Tioga Parkway, where Victorious Swift, 19, was fatally shot. Moses said police were investigating whether there were any connections between the two shootings. (The 75th occurred Sunday night in Southwest Baltimore.)
"We leave no stones unturned," he said.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call detectives at 410-396-2100, text a tip to 443-902-4824, or call Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7-LOCK-UP.