The boy’s home sits just blocks from a so-called no-shoot zone, surrounded by vacant lots and boarded-up homes. Crime’s always a concern, his mother said, and she’s worked to keep her family as safe as possible.
Five-year-old Kodi Shaw should have been safe Saturday night as he sat in the bathtub of his Carrollton Ridge home. But the neighborhood has become more dangerous and violent this year, his family and community leaders say, and that night the unknown shooters were right in the family’s own back alley.
A little after 10 p.m., bullets penetrated a wall, windows and a screen door — four shots in all. One grazed Kodi’s arm, and he was taken to a local hospital.
Edith Knickman, 25, has lived in her home for 12 years and never thought her young child could get caught in the crossfire of violence he had nothing to do with.
“It is just sad,” Knickman said, thankful her son is OK and back at home, but terrified that it even happened at all. “All I can think about is if he moved just a half an inch over, that could have been his life.”
The shots came from right outside her backdoor, Knickman said.
Kodi is the second child in the city to have been struck by a stray bullet in less than two months. In February, 10-year-old Kaelin Washington was struck in the chest by a bullet fired during a street battle between opposing groups. She suffered several injuries, including broken bones and a punctured lung, but is home and back in school, albeit virtually.
Two men have been charged with that shooting. No one has been charged with shooting Kodi.
Baltimore has experienced more than 300 shootings every year since 2014, but 2021 is starting off especially violent. So far this year there 93 homicides citywide, a jump of 15% from the same period a year ago. The number of non-fatal shootings has also increased to 175, compared with 160 in the same period last year.
Cyndi Tensley, a neighborhood association president for Carrollton Ridge, said crime in the city and her neighborhood have gotten too widespread and too far out of control. She visited Knickman on Tuesday and said they are all remaining positive.
“If they don’t feel safe in their own homes, they will not look to go and do other things,” Tensley said. “I don’t see how the current trend that we are heading to is going to make us feel safer. People don’t feel safe here [Carrollton Ridge].
“It is almost to the point where you have to start fending for yourself, you have to start protecting your own property. And that is not a good place to be,” she added.
So far this year at least seven people under the age of 18 have been killed in Baltimore, and politicians and advocates say they are working to address the problem.
“Five years old just at home being a kid and someone being irresponsible & reckless shoots a gun and the child ends up injured,” Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott said on Twitter. “Lucky that he was not severely injured. Somebody knows and needs to say something. Conflicts do not have to end in gunfire. We can and must be better.”
Knickman is focusing on protecting her family, and said this week she’s considering moving out of Carrollton Ridge.
“It is getting worse. I try to have a high hope. To have hope it grows harder every day,” Knickman said. “I just hope that people would think about things before they do it cause it could harm people who have nothing to do with it.”
Kodi is home and recovering, and coping with the trauma.
“He is doing OK. He is trying to go to the happy-go-lucky route,” Knickman said. “He is mostly sleeping with me. Emotionally, he doesn’t feel OK.”