Latrice Bradford, 11, says that because her sister was shot as they walked to a snowball stand in East Baltimore, she's afraid to go back there.
"Anything can happen to us," Latrice said yesterday as she sat on her marble steps in the 700 block of N. Luzerne Ave., combing her 4-year-old sister's hair. "People don't have to know you to kill you."
Shortly after 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Latrice's sister, Lakia Shanaye "Kiki" Bradford, 9, was shot in the chest as she, Latrice and two friends walked to buy an egg custard and three sky-blue snowballs from a stand at the Evans Temple Church in the 2400 block of E. Madison St., police said.
Lakia was in good condition today in the pediatric intensive care unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Agent Arlene Jenkins, a city police spokeswoman, said police have no suspect and no motive in Lakia's shooting.
It was the second time this month that a young girl had been struck by a bullet on a city street.
On July 9, Tiffany Renita Smith, 6, of the 3000 block of W. North Ave., was fatally shot in the head in front of a friend's house in West Baltimore as they played with dolls on the sidewalk.
Tiffany was struck by a 9mm bullet fired by one of two men who were shooting at each other from opposite ends of the 1800 block of N. Rosedale St.
One man has been charged with first-degree murder and a handgun violation in connection with Tiffany's death and is being held without bail at the Baltimore City Detention Center.
"We're still looking for the second guy," a homicide detective said yesterday.
Police believe both Lakia and Tiffany were by-standers.
"In either case, we have not found the victims were the intended targets," said Jenkins. "It points out the fact that if there is gunfire on the streets, anyone outside can become a victim."
In Tuesday's shooting, Lakia thought she had been stung by a bee near the snowball stand, which is around the corner from their home, Latrice said.
Lakia fell to her knees. "She said, 'Help me, help me. A bee stung me,' " Latrice said.
When Lakia went home, their mother discovered she had been shot, Latrice said.
"My mother lifted her shirt and thought it was a BB shot and took her to the hospital," Latrice said. Hopkins doctors told the mother, Jennifer Queen, 36, that Lakia had been shot.
"I knew something was wrong with her and she could have died," Latrice said.
Carla Jones, 10, who said she has known Lakia since kindergarten, said: "I do hope they catch the person who did it. Kiki is my friend."
Yesterday, under sunny skies at the snowball stand, children and adults ordered the flavored ice treats to cool themselves.
John Evans, 41, manager of the stand, said he couldn't believe a child was shot near his stand, which has been in operation for at least two decades.
Evans said that because of drug trafficking, such shootings have become the norm in Baltimore and elsewhere.
"I was shocked that it happened right here," Evans said. "But what can you do? I've left everything in God's hands."