Slain teen stayed out of trouble, father says


The father of a 14-year-old boy killed in a double shooting on his front steps in West Baltimore on Tuesday night says he could not imagine what led to the death of his son, a youth who attended church and kept out of trouble.

"It was senseless," said Sean Bryant, 37, of the shooting that also wounded his stepson. "It was cold-blooded murder."

Sherod Bryant and his half-brother, Derrick Bennett, 16, were shot on the steps of the family's home in the 1500 block of Ellamont St. about 8:30 p.m., police said. Sherod died a short time later at Bon Secours Hospital; Derrick is recovering from gunshot wounds to his stomach and liver, the father said yesterday.

Sherod lived with his father and stepmother, Yolanda Bryant, in a two-story house in what the family and neighbors said is normally a quiet area. The boys had just returned home from Bible study at UBC Church of the Living God in the 1900 block of Walbrook Ave. when they asked to go to a gas station and buy some snacks, Bryant said.

As they returned home, Sherod told Derrick that he thought someone might be following them, Sean Bryant said. When they got home, they sat on the front steps and two men approached them, he said.

The men said something and one of them pulled a handgun from his pants and started shooting, Bryant said.

Derrick was able to dash inside the house, but Sherod did not make it to safety, Bryant said.

Police said yesterday that they were hunting for clues and knew of no motive.

"We don't know what transpired," said Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris. "They sound like pretty good kids, don't sound like kids running in the street and involved in mayhem. It may be what it appears to be, that they were good kids who were unfortunate victims."

Neighbors said they were shocked by the violence, though young men from other places tend to hang out on corners at night.

"It's not really dangerous," said Peggy Collins, 49, of the 3000 block of Brighton St. "But it has really gone down due to the drugs."

Bryant said he is left trying to figure out what happened after he had worked hard to keep the boys from spending time on the streets.

"My boys didn't socialize with anyone out there," said Bryant, a construction worker. "I didn't allow them to hang out. As far as hanging out on the corners, there wasn't any of that."

Bryant said Sherod had been living with his mother, Suzett Evans, 41, in Northwest Baltimore until moving in with his father, stepmother, sister, three stepbrothers, a half-sister and a half-brother in December. He described his son as "a big-brother figure to them," and added that he was a good student in the ninth grade at Frederick Douglass High School.

Sherod was the city's 23rd homicide victim of the year.

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