Lamar Burgess hasn’t eaten in two days.
Not since the quadruple shooting in front of East Baltimore’s Green Line Market, where Burgess, 31, works as a cook.
Not since he saw the 16-year-old boy he knew as “Little Milton” killed in the street in front him. Not since he helped carry the boy’s mother, who also was shot, to an ambulance and safety.
“I just keep replaying the incident in head," said Burgess, an East Baltimore native. “I called his name. He looked at me and he took his last breath.”
Now, memorial balloons are tied outside the Green Line Market in the 2500 block of E. Monument St., where Milton Carrington died, and his friends are mourning yet another life cut too short by Baltimore’s unrelenting pace of gun violence.
Baltimore police say Carrington was killed about 12:30 a.m. Thursday when he and three others were shot while waiting for food from the market. Police say they are not identifying the victims of the non-fatal shootings: a 14-year-old boy, a 15-year-old boy and a 33-year-old woman, who friends say is Milton’s mother.
Witnesses say a white van drove by the victims as they were standing on the street and someone inside opened fire.
Milton’s friend, Melo Arzu, 20, called him a “big-hearted kid” who liked to ride the new scooters around the city.
“He was loyal no matter what,” Arzu said. “He would do anything for his mother. He was funny. He was caring. He was energetic. Most kids don’t want to hear nothing from a grown person, but he was very open-minded. I’m really, really heartbroken.”
Arzu said friends are planning a candlelight vigil for Thursday.
The quadruple shooting came just 90 minutes after police exchanged gunfire with a man who tried to shoot and run over officers earlier in the week, killing him in a hail of bullets. On Friday morning, there was another quadruple shooting that left one woman dead.
More than 700 people have been shot this year in Baltimore, a 23 percent increase from this time last year.
Burgess says he was getting ready to close down early Thursday, when Milton Carrington, his mother and some friends arrived at the store and ordered sodas, chips and candy. Burgess was about to carry their order to them when he heard the shots ring out.
“They were sitting on the steps waiting for me to bring them their stuff,” Burgess said. “I almost stepped out into the shots.”
Store surveillance video shows Burgess among the men helping a woman struck by gunfire to the ambulance. He said there was nothing he could to help Milton, who was too badly wounded. Police say he was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
“I feel bad for her son,” Burgess said. “The city’s crazy, man. I wish that on nobody, especially not kids.”
Kwame Rose, an activist and former coordinator of the city’s BMORE Beautiful program, said Milton Carrington was one of about 40 or 50 youth who would work on Saturdays trying to clean up the city.
Rose said Milton always showed up on time and ready to work.
“He was a kid raised on Monument Street. But once he saw positive influences on his life, he knew what was possible," Rose said. "That’s what he wanted. Did he have challenges? Yes, but anybody who lives in that environment has challenges.”
The BMORE Beautiful program partners with the Rose Street Community Center, where director Clayton Guyton said Milton was almost like a son to him.
“He had an infectious smile, a caring attitude, and a lovely personality,” Guyton said. “It’s heartbreaking. This should not be occurring in Baltimore City. He’s going to be greatly missed.”
Rose said Milton’s death is sadly emblematic of how many teens are struggling to get by in Baltimore.
“He’d squeegee. They want to contribute. They want to be worth something. They realize they have to work to survive," Rose said. "And he may not have known how to express himself in the most articulate forms, but you could tell by his effort that he wanted to work and he was there to earn his money.”
Programs like BMORE Beautiful are meant to get young people involved in something positive, but they’re not enough, Rose said.
“This program alone couldn’t save his life,” Rose said. “Safe Streets couldn’t have saved his life. It’s going to take investment and community services to save kids like Milton and all the other kids we’re unfortunately going to continue to lose to violence this year.”
Homicide detectives are asking anyone with information to call 410-396-2100 or call Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7LOCKUP.