Kimberly Fleet tried to get her mother, Carolyn McFadden, to move with her to Atlanta when she left Baltimore in 2009. But the city had a strong hold on her mother, Fleet said this week.
In recent weeks Fleet, 54, found herself back in Baltimore, first in the hospital pulling for her mother’s recovery and, then, to mourn the loss of the 73-year-old woman she knew was “well-loved and well-liked."
McFadden died Saturday, nearly two weeks after being caught in the crossfire of a shootout outside her home on 1800 Hollins Street, in the Franklin Square neighborhood.
Fleet now finds herself battling the animosity building inside her toward the city she left behind.
“It is so senseless and they are not just destroying one person’s life, they are destroying whole families," Fleet said in a phone interview. “I just don’t like the state the city is in right now, this is terrible. It is like we are in war zone — all this shooting.”
McFadden had moved into the Bon Secours Terrace housing complex — a senior facility in the Franklin Square neighborhood — just three months earlier. McFadden “loved” the Ravens and ran errands for her neighbors in the senior facility, her daughter said.
On Jan. 6, McFadden walked outside to smoke a cigarette. Minutes later she was shot in the stomach, victim of a violent clash she had nothing to do with.
Rochelle Jones had been a friend of McFadden’s for more than 60 years. Sitting at her home in a senior living facility in Catonsville she recalled their lifelong friendship.
Jones, 73, said they met as 12-year-olds, and remembered her as a “jolly, upbeat person." McFadden was always at Jones’ home — often eating dinner with her family. Jones had not seen McFadden since May, although they stayed in touch.
Jones was at home when she heard the news about a “73-year-old woman” being shot in their old city. She hoped it was not her friend. Days passed and Jones had not heard anything from family or mutual friends. Eventually Jones’ sister called with the bad news.
Jones said she and her husband, Thomas, would have been devastated if McFadden passed in any fashion. But the violent nature of McFadden’s death made it even tougher to deal with.
“I never heard anybody say anything bad about Carolyn, ever,” Jones said.
Last year was the deadliest year for women in Baltimore city for at least the past five years with 38 reported homicides of women. The year before, 33 women were killed.
Baltimore Police Spokesperson Nicole Monroe said violence is never a good thing, but when elderly people or children are impacted, it takes a significant toll on the department and residents.
“Senseless violence is always appalling, however it strikes a different chord when it touches our elders and our children," Monroe said. “Deployment strategies to combat crime are in place all over Baltimore. Officers diligently go out and work hard for all the citizens of Baltimore city alike.”
The investigation is progressing, Monroe said, but a suspect has not yet been announced by the department.
Baltimore City Councilmember John Bullock said the city needs to keep pushing for solutions to the violence.
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“This is clearly a tragic situation that has taken the life of a valuable community member,” Bullock said. “We must continue working to address the root causes that lead to violence in our communities. At the same time, we also need neighbors to share information with law enforcement to help solve cases and prevent future ones."
At the corner of 27 S. Fulton Ave., Deborah Yah Yisrael sat inside her grocery store, Deborah’s Market.
McFadden frequented Yisrael’s store several times a week. When she first heard of the shooting, Yisrael expressed frustration with the violence and how it has been affecting her customers. McFadden’s death left her particularly disturbed.
“She didn’t deserve to be killed like that, she did not do anything to them," Yisrael said. “I was so sad and upset when I found out.”