The news spread quickly across the neighborhood. Dayquon Glenn had been shot.
Word passed from friend to friend and soon reached Glenn’s brother, who then had to make the most difficult call — to their mother.
“He called me on the phone and was like ‘Mom, Dayquon been shot’ and I said 'where?’" Denise Kelly recalled Tuesday night.
Kelly and her family hopped in a car and canvassed their West Baltimore neighborhood looking for the crime scene. They started down Baker Street and eventually spotted police cars and an ambulance on the 2800 block of Dukeland Street, about seven minutes from home.
The family ducked under the yellow crime scene tape in a panic, asking several different Baltimore police officers what happened to Dayquon Glenn.
“I said, ‘somebody just told me my son got shot, can you tell me if that is him in the ambulance?’" Kelly said. “They would not say anything to me.”
Finally, she said, one officer asked Kelly, “what was his name?"
The officer looked at his notepad while Kelly’s younger son, who did not want to be identified out of fear for his safety, gave him Glenn’s description. The officer looked at his notepad again.
“It doesn’t look too good,” she recalled the officer telling her as he pointed at the ambulance. Glenn died shortly after being shot around 1:10 p.m. on February 24.
Baltimore police say they face a difficult balancing act when families arrive while victims still are being treated. While officers want to help, they also have to carefully guard their crime scenes to preserve evidence so any suspects can be caught, said Baltimore police spokesperson Donny Moses, adding that “a lot of factors” go into handling an active shooting scene.
“A lot of times, when people come down and learn their loved ones were shot, they are in a panic," Moses said. "In order to prevent it, we use crime scene tape and it almost can become a confrontational situation.”
Under ideal circumstances, police notify families through a detective assigned to the case in a “controlled environment," he said.
Kelly, 41, has been calling police “every other day” for progress updates since the Feb. 24 shooting and said she learned detectives are looking at his cell phone to find information that may lead to a suspect.
Glenn celebrated his 23rd birthday on Feb. 14, his family members said Tuesday night.
Glenn thinks her son’s killing was senseless and struggles to understand why her son died the way he did.
“I just wish it would end, I wish they [the city] would come up with some type of solution,” said Kelly, who believes the police could be stretched thin in investigating homicide cases because Baltimore has tallied more than 50 murders so far this year.
The investigation into Glenn’s slaying remains ongoing, Baltimore police said Wednesday morning.
Kelly is working to arrange a funeral service for her son, and a candlelight vigil was held on Sunday evening, she said.
She said the family remembers him most for his “loving personality.”
“He was always smiling," Kelly said. "He was the type of person that if you were down or having a bad day, he would always do something to lift your day up.”
Kelly was feeling a little down last month and did not want to celebrate her own birthday. Glenn told her that God was looking out for her, and that there wasn’t anything she was dealing with that she couldn’t handle. And then he gave her a “tight hug and a kiss on the cheek,” she said.
Glenn graduated from Excel Academy at Francis M. Wood High School in 2017, Kelly said. The school suffered an excruciatingly violent year in 2017, with five students killed.
He was interested in home improvement and automobile work, and was handy when it came to fixing appliances, his mother remembered. He did a number of odd jobs, many of them working with his hands. His favorite sports were basketball and football, among others. Kelly believes Glenn still had much of his life still ahead of him.
Erricka Bridgeford, the co-founder of CeaseFire 365, said many issues of gun violence impacting young people in communities have stemmed from lingering poverty and systemic racism — citing inequalities in housing, employment and adequate resources in predominantly black Baltimore neighborhoods.
Bridgeford believes young people need more help in the city.
“The fact that there is such a large number of young people killed means there is an injustice for young people right now," Bridgeford said. “In a place like Baltimore, because of systems of oppression — it is easier to get a gun than it is fresh fruits and vegetables.”